Incidences of diabetes are rising throughout the world. This is also the case with small kids. Most children are affected by type 1 diabetes during their childhood. However that’s not the case anymore. The number of children being affected now by type 2 diabetes is on the rise particularly in America.
It’s approximated that close to 90% of those affected with diabetes type 1 are young people with the number of children varying from place to place. Reliable statistics estimate that 17 in every 100000 children develop diabetes in each year. As the cases of obesity and bad diets continue rising in kids, so do the cases of type 2 diabetes.
Causes of diabetes in children
The actual cause of diabetes in both children and adults is unknown or little understood. Its widely speculated though that diabetes occurs when there is an interaction between genes and environmental factors. It’s always speculated that these genes are triggered by such factors as diet or exercise.
Diabetes in children can either be genetic be attributed to a bad diet from a tender age followed up by a lifestyle devoid of exercise.
Symptoms Of Diabetes in Children
Just like is the case with diabetes in adults, a number of symptoms may give you an indication that your child has developed diabetes. Note that the signs and symptoms in children with type 1 diabetes tend to develop quicker than in adults. You may probably see the signs in the first few weeks. These symptoms include:
- Increased frequency in urination-due to excess sugar building up in the bloodstream, a child will become thirsty, drink more and consequently frequent the washrooms. Children old enough to attend to their calls on their own may soon start bedwetting.
- Hunger-your child’s muscles and organs soon become weak due to the body’s lack of enough insulin to move glucose into the cells. This will in turn trigger a great desire to eat.
- Fatigue-this is attributed to lack of glucose in your child’s body cells which might make him/her tired and lethargic.
- Weight loss-this should be a first pointer to type 1 diabetes among children. Such kind of weight loss is normally hard to explain. A child eats more than enough but due to the body’s inability to withhold sugar, fat stores and muscle tissues will shrink explaining the weight loss
- Change in behavior; irritability should be a major concern to you as a parent. On top of this a child’s performance in school will sharply decline.
- Fruit smelling kind of breath: this smell is due to the fact that the body burns fats instead of glucose or sugar. The result is a substance called ketones that result in a fruit like odor.
- Yeast infections: particularly in girls with type 1 diabetes. They may develop genital infections. When it comes to babies they develop diaper rushes.
How to prevent and treat diabetes in children
Currently there is no known sure way of preventing type 1 diabetes. But children who have a high chance of later developing type 1 diabetes can be tested for antibodies associated with the condition. However the presence of these antibodies in no way indicates the presence of diabetes. Moreover there is no way to prevent the condition in case the antibodies are found
Research is still ongoing as to how this condition can be prevented in case one is found to have a high chance of developing it. And for those who are newly diagnosed research is ongoing on how the islet cells can be destroyed. With concerns to treatment, after diagnosis a child should be referred to a diabetes specialist. Type 1 diabetes basically means that almost the entire islet cells have been destroyed and little to no insulin can be produced. Therefore that leaves only one option and that is insulin treatment. An insulin regimen will be planned based on the individual’s requirements and the child’s habits.
Insulin pumps are also popular when it comes to treating type 1 diabetes amongst children. After diagnosis children will probably require small dosages of insulin, but these changes as they grow older. Good glucose control is basically the key if you are to manage any diabetic condition. Type 2 diabetes is different though. This treatment entirely depends on how far the condition has gone. However in early stages it’s possible to treat via an abrupt and total change around of their lifestyle. This includes incorporating healthy foods into their diet and ensuring they have enough exercise.
What parents with diabetic children should do
As a parent to a diabetic child there is need for you to strictly monitor your child. Ensure that you monitor the blood glucose levels of your child in order to avoid any fluctuations. It’s good to always keep in mind that diabetic children have diet restrictions. You should closely monitor what they eat and also ensure that they have enough exercise. Support from parents and family members alike is paramount if you are to manage this condition. This is because from the initial stage and throughout the entire lifetime this condition is normally strenuous. As a parent understanding how the condition affects your child, patience and adaptability is key to its management.
As a parent some of the things you should bear in mind while taking care of your diabetic child include:
- You should know how to deliver insulin injection just in case. Two major delivery sites that you should be aware of include: above the abdomen and on the thigh. But you will have to seek further clarification.
- You should be familiar with signs indicating that the sugar level has dropped. Additionally you should know what to do if this occurs.
- Teach your children how to monitor these levels so that when they come of age they may be able to take care of themselves.
- Make sure that those people close to your child know of his/her condition so that they may help in case you are not around.
- Always ensure that glucose is available at all times.
Guide on how to Manage Diabetes
Diabetes is a debilitating illness that can affect people from all walks of life. In the last decade the number of people afflicted with Diabetes has dramatically increased. According to the American Diabetes organization this number ha risen by more than 50% to an estimated 30 million American. According to the World Health Organisation Diabetes claims more live every year compared to cancer and HIV/AIDs combined…it claims the life of one American every three minute!
To understand Diabetes it is important to first understand the important role that insulin play in the human body. After digestion, the food we eat is turned into glucose or sugars, at this point the pancreases is supposed to naturally secrete insulin which essentially ‘opens’ cell to allow the glucose to enter in so that it is used for energy. In a person with Diabetes this system does not work as expected. In a person with Diabetes Type 1 the body does not make enough insulin. On the other hand when it comes to Diabetes Type 2 which I the most common the body does not make enough insulin and also does not use the insulin well.
When insulin secretion is insufficient, the glucose is not absorbed unto the cells but rather remains in the blood. Overtime, too much insulin accumulated in the bloodstream has a slew of detrimental consequences such as damage to the kidneys, nerves and eyes. Additionally, Diabetes also increases the likelihood of developing stroke heart disease and in extreme cases limb amputation.
How to avoid Dying from Diabetes
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to Diabetes. This preventative measures are more important if you are at the increased risk of developing Diabetes much as family history of this ailment or being overweight. Preventing Diabetes requires a total lifestyle change and here is how to accomplish it:
A sedentary lifestyle increases the chances of developing diabetes. It is important to stick to a regular workout regimen. Start slowly maybe with a walk every day until your body is acclimatised enough to handle more intense exercise. Regular exercise help you shed off excess pound, decreases blood sugar levels and also boosts your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Extensive research has ascertained that resistance training and aerobic exercise can come in handy in controlling Diabetes. Including both in your exercise regimen is advisable.
Your diet should be rich in whole grain, fibre and foods low in carbs and sugar. Fibre is extremely important because it can help keep your blood sugar level at check, lower the risk of developing heart disease and also give the feeling of satiety hence helping to lose weight. Food rich in fibre include bean, nut, vegetable and fruits. This mean making healthier choices when it come to food, replace processed food with fruit and vegetables that can id in improving your health.
Shed the excess weight
If you are overweight preventing Diabetes may hinge on loosing the excess pounds. Every pound you lose can significantly improve the state of your health. In a study carried out by Harvard University participants who lost a modest amount of weight (7% of the initial body weight) and adapted to a regular exercise regimen reduced the chances of developing this debilitating illness by close to 60%.
Go for a blood glucose screening if:
You are above the age of 45 and overweight
You are younger than 45 but have 2 or more risk factors that predispose you to Diabetes such family history of the disease or a highly sedentary lifestyle.
On such visits you can either discover early and start managing it or get indispensable medical advice based on your medical history.
If you already have diabetes, it is not too late. This is a disease you can live with for a long time without developing severe medical conditions that cause death. Here are some tips on keeping Diabetes under control
- Spot check blood sugar levels, this information will help you adjust your diet and exercise regimen accordingly so that you gain better control over the disease
- Count carb carefully as excess carbohydrates can send your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride. To achieve this consumed high-fibre foods that are low in carbohydrates and pair them with healthy proteins like nuts. This will give your body sufficient nutrients and make you feel full without unnecessarily raining your blood sugar level.
- Think of physical activity as medicine that must be consumed regularly in order to keep working. Exercise helps burn excess glucose and also releases endorphins that help in mood stabilisation. When you are always in great mood the chances of binge eating because of tress are reduced.
- Know all your important numbers. Apart from blood sugar you also need to keep track of cholesterol level and blood pressure. Visit the doctor often and follow all the instructions
- To keep Diabetes under control, build a dream team. This is disease better managed by a team of committed experts headed by you and should include a doctor, nutritionist, pharmacist and friends and family who offer family and social support to help you embrace a healthier lifestyle and stick to it no matter how challenging.