This disease in children is also called juvenile
diabetes. A few points relating to it need to be stressed:
- Children often have Type 1 diabetes, inherited from
both parents. If either of them do not have the disease or do
not carry the genes for diabetes (as seen in the family
history), then their children are not likely to get the disease.
On the other hand, if one child has juvenile diabetes, there is
a possibility that your other child may also get it.
- This type of diabetes is almost always treated with
- With proper management, almost normal growth and activity of the diabetic child can be assured.
- If not properly managed, the child can go into coma
and later in life develop complications affecting his eyes, kidney, heart and nerves.
- The disease is less common in breastfed children.
SYMPTOMS: Although it can affect even infants, generally the onset of the disease is around
5 years of age. The
child drinks a lot more water, passes urine more often, may
start wetting his bed or clothes, eats more than usual but
still does not gain weight, or even starts losing weight. There may
be a history of vomiting, pain in the abdomen, dehydration
and the need to admit the child to a hospital.
In some children, the disease presents for the first
time with severe pain in the abdomen, vomiting and
drowsiness. If not treated, the child may lapse into unconsciousness. A family
history of diabetes in a brother or sister of
the child or a history of diabetes in both the parents or
their elders should further make one suspect diabetes. If
there are such symptoms, your doctor will ask for a urine and
blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
TREATMENT: Depending on the condition of your child, the doctor may decide if the child
needs hospitalisation. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, he will start with
injections of insulin.
It is important to keep a check on your child’s sugar
levels because less sugar (due to an excessive dose of insulin)
as well as high blood sugar can lead to unconsciousness.
Your doctor will teach you what to do if such a situation
Diet as well as exercise are important. The diet should
not vary too much in amount on different days. Your doctor
will advise you on a healthy diet, as well as healthy snacks
like peanuts and other nuts, chuna and fruits.
Your child can take part in competitive sports as well, under your doctor’s advice.
Mood disturbances are not uncommon in this condition. A child may suddenly become
withdrawn or depressed. Do not hesitate to seek expert help in such a situation.
7 March, 2016