Signs of Diabetes in Children


Signs of diabetes in children may differ from those manifested by adults, and may occur at various paces pace depending on the type. There are two types of Diabetes: Type1 and Type 2.

Signs and symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in children

Diabetes Type 1, also called Juvenile Diabetes or Insulin-dependent diabetes, develops quickly over a period of weeks. This occurs when the child’s pancreas no longer produces insulin needed to regulate blood sugar. This type usually requires long term insulin replacement therapy.

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– frequent urination (polyuria) and bed-wetting. Insulin is needed to transport glucose or sugar into the cells for use as energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up inside the blood stream, pulling fluid from the cells into the kidneys for excretion, thus, causing increased urination.

– Increased thirst (polydipsia). Loss of fluid from the body causes the child to feel thirsty all the time. The child may ask for drinks more often than normal.

– Extreme Hunger. The child may also always feel hungry. The glucose that the child eats does not enter the cells, triggering signals of hunger.

– Weight loss. Glucose is needed for energy. Without insulin to deliver glucose to the cells, the cells utilize its storage of fat and muscle, causing weight loss.

– Weakness, easy fatigability. The child may feel tired all the time. This is because of the lack of energy supply.

– Blurred vision. Fluid is pulled away from the cells and blood stream during polyuria. This decreases blood volume, lessening blood flow to the eyes. In effect, the child experiences blurring of vision.

– Recurring yeast and vaginal infections. This is among the signs of diabetes in children.

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– Longer healing time for wounds. Diabetes damages blood vessels, making it harder for blood to reach the further parts of the body like the legs. This causes slower healing for wounds found on the extremities.


Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in children

Diabetes Type 2 occurs more gradually. This type is often brought about by obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. It is mainly associated with adults. But children who are overweight are also largely at risk for developing Diabetes Type 2. This type, however, can usually be controlled through proper diet, exercise, and weight management.

In type 2 Diabetes, the body produces sufficient amounts of insulin. But the body no longer knows how to use it and insulin resistance develops. Symptoms develop slowly and some may not exhibit symptoms at all. When they do however, symptoms are similar with those of type 1 diabetes. Children with type 2 diabetes also experience polyuria, polydipsia, extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow wound healing. In addition, dark patches appear on the child’s body. Insulin resistance causes reactions on the skin and is known as Acantothis Nigricans.

Management of diabetes in children

Diabetes is not curable. But it is manageable, with proper diet and exercise for Diabetes Type 2, and with insulin replacement therapy for Diabetes Type 1. It is a long term condition which requires frequent blood sugar monitoring and lifestyle change. Diabetes screening is advisable for overweight children and for those with a family history of diabetes. Being able to detect signs of diabetes in children early on will prevent complications such as heart disease and kidney disease.

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