Diabetes in Kids and Teens
The most common type of diabetes that affect youth and toddlers is Type 1 diabetes. Also known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes in kids is an autoimmune disease that results from the pancreases not producing enough insulin. Although type 2 diabetes was initially thought to be a problem for adults over 40 years, teens have also started acquiring it. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas of a kid with Type 2 diabetes produces enough insulin; however, the body cells fail to respond positively towards this insulin.
Diabetic symptoms to watch out for in kids
Most times, kids are unable to communicate their problems or the discomfort they are experiencing. This makes it more challenging for parents to comprehend. However, despite the fact that kids show varying signs of diabetes, most of the warning diabetic symptoms are more or less the same. They include:
Kids with undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes will start craving for food at abrupt intervals. This is because their bodies aren’t transforming the food they eat into energy due to lack of insulin. Instead, their bodies break down food into sugars, which build up in the system causing extreme hunger.
2.Excessive thirst and urinating.
This is one of the most recognizable symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. Remember lack of insulin will lead to increased levels of glucose in the body. The body will attempt to flush out this glucose through the urine and this may trigger a sudden onset of nighttime bed-wetting. A parent who is not keen enough will ignore these red flags or assume that the kid is simply suffering from a urinary tract infection.
3.Sudden weight loss.
When children are growing, their natural growth spurt might look like a weight loss although it does not necessarily involve true weight loss. For a kid with undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, the weight loss will be extreme and sudden, even if the child seems to be eating all the time.
4. Fruity smelling breath
Most kids use fruity flavored toothpaste and so this symptom may go unnoticed but the truth is, the fruity sweet smell is as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis where the body tries to get rid of acetone through the respiratory system. If you notice your kid having this smell, then he/she has poisonous ketones building up in the body and the child likely requires urgent treatment for diabetes.
5. Diaper rash
Toddlers with Type 1 diabetes will often have rashes that are not healing and teen girls may develop genital yeast infections.
Can diabetic kids live a normal life?
Diabetic kids should definitely not be left to deal with diabetes alone and yes, a kid diagnosed with diabetes can enjoy a normal life. They can enjoy co-curriculum activities in school such football, swimming or drama. However, the blood sugar levels of such kids can rapidly drop due to overheating and therefore they should be kept well hydrated. You should also allow their bodies to cool down before bath time to allow their bodies to be relaxed in order to administer insulin.
Diabetic children can also enjoy snacks like other normal kids. You should feed them with snacks that will not trigger a massive blood sugar fluctuation. They can enjoy celery, nuts, cheese, plain yogurt and fruits among other foods.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.