What is childhood Diabetes? Childhood diabetes is rising day by day according to the statistics; this disease has increased around three fold in the last thirty years. There are two types of Diabetes, which are found in children; type 1, and type 2.
The symptoms of both the types of Diabetes are almost same as that of the adults which are fatigue, excessive urination and thirst but in children it has been found that they also undergo behavior changes like frustration and anxiety; headaches and stomachaches.
Knowing what is Childhood Diabetes helps.
According to the most recent fact sheet of National Diabetes (2011), the diabetes patients under the age of 20 are found to be 215,000. This makes it around 1 child in every 400 children and adolescents. This ratio is only for under 20, the ratio gets far higher for the age 20 plus.
What is the honeymoon phase in diabetes?
The honeymoon phase in diabetes is a temporary time period which takes place after diagnose of the Type 1 diabetic. In this duration the patient is not required to take insulin or a very minor amount of it is needed. The sugar present in the blood starts to act normal or very near to normal. It has been found that during this phase the pancreas starts to produce the insulin itself as the beta cells produce the hormone. However the beta cells get destroyed as the phase gets over and the body stops to produce the insulin again. So, the phase is quite temporary and when this happens, you cannot say that the patient is cured.
Coming to the length of this honeymoon phase, is different for different children. It can be for days, weeks and even for months. Some doctors have found that this phase can even be for years however it is quite a rare case. And you also need to know that this phase is not experienced by all diabetics.
During the honeymoon phase, as the time is unpredictable so it gets difficult to control the blood sugar level as there are both the chances of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia and high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.
Many researchers are working to extend the honeymoon phase of the diabetics. It is also important to know that this phase is only experienced by the Type 1 diabetics; Type 2 does not experience it.
Type 1 diabetes is also known asJuvenile Diabetes. It is a condition in which the high blood sugar is found in the patient due to the extreme deficiency of the insulin secretion in the pancreas. Children who are found to be diagnosed with juvenile diabetes are usually insulin dependent. Insulin is a very important element in our body as it converts the food we eat into the energy, which makes our body to function normally.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in children
Following are the symptoms of the Type 1 diabetes in children:
- Extremely thirsty and frequent urination – since the excessive sugar is building up in the blood of your child so more fluid is being pulled from the tissues. This would make your child thirstier and when he would drink more so he would urinate more.
- Behavioral Changes – such children becomes moody, they gets irritable easily. Also he may undergo tiredness and fatigue due to which he may sound rude, angry or completely drained out.
- Extremely Hungry – if the required amount of sugar is not reaching the blood then the child’s muscles and other organs gets deprived of the energy which can result in intense hunger.
- Weight loss – despite having more than usual food, if your child is losing weight then it is the sign of the Type 1 diabetes. The fat stores, muscle tissues can shrink due to less amount of sugar. So the unexplainable weight loss is a first sign to take some action.
- Blurred vision – if your child is having high blood sugar then the fluid present in the eyes can also be pulled due to which the child becomes unable to focus clearly.
- Yeast Infection/ Rashes – children may develop the yeast infection near the genital areas while the babies can get the diaper rashes.
Is Type 1 Hereditary?
Since with the growing rate of diabetes, a lot of people are concerned that whether Type 1 diabetes is hereditary or not. There are risks involved if a parent and especially the father have the disease, there are greater chances that the children may have it as well but you should keep in mind that in spite the higher chances, there is no guarantee that their offspring will have it too.
According to some doctors, it is a misconception that the Type 1 diabetes is hereditary. The environmental factors contribute largely to its development.
Type 2 diabetes in children
Type 2 diabetes is usually more associated with adults but with the increasing rate of the disease, it is now found in children as well. It is especially fueled by the obesity. It is a chronic condition in which the sugar or the glucose produced in the body is largely affected.
The type 2 diabetes can be managed and even prevented if you encourage your children to avoid all sorts of junk food and switching to healthier foods. Physical activities are also quite necessary in order to maintain their body shape. These are usually not enough and some oral medication and insulin is given to the type 2 diabetic children.
Helping your teen handle diabetes
As a parent it is hard to know when you can trust your teen to handle his or her own Diabetes as it can get to the stage where the teen may feel that you are nagging him.
Tips that can guide your teen:
- Ask your teen how his blood glucose levels readings are never over react if they are a little high.
- Don’t give him the answers to the problem ask him what will he now need to do to bring his sugars under control. After all it is the teen that will be managing his Diabetes himself.
- Get the teen to think about pre planning if he is planning on being away for the day let him know that snacks in the pantry he can carry in his pocket.
The family is the support unit for the Diabetic and how the family can help is to have the same food, which will have everyone eating healthier. Shop for healthy foods to encourage better and forming healthy eating habits for the entire family. Where possibly encourage exercise or hire exercise equipment to have a mini gym in the home.
When someone asks what is childhood diabetes, at least you will know now.