Diabetes In Children - 3 Causes, 9 Symptoms & Treatments You Should Be Aware Of


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You may have been taking the utmost care of your child’s diet and health, but sometimes, children still end up falling sick or diagnosed with something.

Lifestyle related health disorders have become quite common these days, but what is concerning is the fact that many of these lifestyle-related disorders are affecting children too. One such common health condition that is affecting children is – diabetes.

No parent finds it easy to adjust to the fact that their child would need constant treatment and care. But as heartbreaking as it may sound, diabetes is, in fact, much easier to handle in your child than you would think.

To understand how to take care of your child who has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to understand the basics of diabetes in kids – its causes, signs and symptoms, along with the diagnostic options and possible treatments.


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Diabetes in Children:

Diabetes is a condition

where the body fails to produce enough insulin (a hormone that converts sugar and starch into energy needed for daily life) or becomes resistant to the effects of insulin.

1. Type1 Diabetes:

Type1 diabetes is one of the most common forms of Diabetes. Around 90-95% of children under the age of 16 years who are affected by diabetes have type1 diabetes. This is actually an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own immune system starts to attack the body’s own tissues and organs. This leads to an inability of the pancreas to produce insulin to meet the body’s requirements.

2. Type2 Diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body develops resistance to insulin. The body does produce enough insulin but it isn’t able to work well and do what it is supposed to do, as the other cells of the body become resistant to its effects.

Causes Of Diabetes In Children:

1. Hereditary:

In most cases, childhood diabetes is a result of hereditary and genetic problems. If one parent is affected by diabetes, there is a greater risk that the child too, may be affected by the same. However, it has also been found that kids who develop type1 diabetes don’t always have a family history of the disease.

2. Genetic And Environmental Reasons:

The actual cause behind diabetes in both children and adults is not very well understood. It is believed that a combination of certain genetic characteristics and environmental factors may be to blame for the occurrence of the disease. The diet of the individual and the level of physical activity may be a determinant of the risk of being affected by the disease.

3. Poor Dietary Habits:

In case of type2 diabetes it has been found that following bad dietary habits from a young age can cause the same. Coupled with sedentary lifestyle and extremely low levels of physical activity, the chances are further increased.

Important Points To Note Regarding Diabetes:

  • There is no ‘cure’ for the disease, it can only be managed.
  • There is no way to prevent type1 diabetes.
  • You cannot develop type1 diabetes by consuming too much sugar.
  • Diabetes is not a contagious disease and does not spread from one to another.

Symptoms Of Diabetes:

Both type1 and type2 present some typical diabetes symptoms in children which may help you spot the condition possibly affecting your kid.

  1. Hunger
  2. Bed wetting
  3. Excessive thirst
  4. Frequent passing of urine
  5. Tiredness and fatigue
  6. Mood changes
  7. Weight loss
  8. Increase in fungal infections
  9. Dark skin and pigmentation in certain areas of the body

It is important to note that in type1 diabetes, the symptoms generally present themselves rapidly, whereas in type2 diabetes, the symptoms develop gradually over a period of time. It is best to arrange for routine check-ups to diagnose the disease correctly.

Diagnosis Of Diabetes:

The detection of diabetes is quite simple.

  • If you find your kid displaying the signs and symptoms associated with diabetes, you can get him to a doctor and arrange for a urine test.
  • This will detect if the sugar levels in his urine are much higher than normal.
  • This is a clear indication of the prevalence of the disease.
  • In some cases, the diabetes specialist may require a detailed blood test called the glucose tolerance test to detect the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.

Treatment Options:

1. For Type1:

In case of type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy is a treatment option to help replace the insulin that the body cannot make. Following a healthy diet with regular intake of carbohydrates can also help manage the disease. Regular exercise is also thought to help manage blood glucose levels.

2. For Type2:

In case of type2 diabetes, adjustments to lifestyle, following healthy eating practices and aiming to lose weight with moderate physical activity is recommended. Most people tend to need additional measures to tackle the disease at some point of time- tablets or insulin or a combination of both may be needed.

[ Read: Healthy Recipes for Kids ]

3. Possible Complications:

Left ignored and untreated, diabetes can also cause certain complications that may be difficult to treat. Here are some of the most common complications that arise out of diabetes:

  • Kidney Problems:

    Diabetic nephropathy is a common kidney problem faced by those who have poor diabetes control over a long period of time. Regular screening and proper management of the disease can be helpful in tackling this condition.

  • Eye Problems:Diabetic retinopathy is yet another complication associated with diabetes, and affects the retina of the eye in particular. Cataracts and blurred vision may become common, and regular screening may help minimize the damage.
  • Nerve Problems:

    Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage associated with diabetes, and good control and screening can minimize the effects of this condition.

Apart from these, diabetes also raises the risk of many health conditions including foot problems, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Kids affected by diabetes can have a normal and healthy life. For that you have ensure they are able to manage their condition, follow your doctor’s guidelines and advices into handling diabetes. Make sure you take your child for regular health check-ups.

Let us know your experiences in dealing with diabetes in your child:

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