Type 1 Diabetes In Kids: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Type 1 Diabetes In Kids: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

10 Nov 2022 | 4 min Read

Manisha Pradhan

Author | 1053 Articles

Also known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes in kids is when a child’s body does not produce insulin which is an important hormone for producing sugar for energy. Since insulin is an important hormone, it needs to be replaced with an insulin pump or insulin injections.

If your child has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it can be worrisome but even though there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes in kids, it can be easily managed. Here’s all you need to know about Type 1 diabetes in kids.

What Happens In Type 1 Diabetes In Kids? 

If a child is suffering from type 1 diabetes, their body’s immune system destroys and attacks the cells in the pancreas which produces insulin and the body cannot make insulin anymore. The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that in type 2 diabetes, the body is still able to produce insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work as it should.

Irritability and fatigue are two of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in kids/ Image source: freepik

Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes In Kids

Firstly, it’s important to understand the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in kids. Most of the time the symptoms of type 1 diabetes in kids develop very quickly. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Bedwetting 
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in breath smell( usually fruity-smelling breath)
  • Irritability
  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight loss

Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes In Kids

While the cause of Type 1 Diabetes in kids is still unknown and can happen at any age, it is believed that some of the possible causes of type 1 diabetes in kids are:

  • Genetics: Certain genes indicate an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in kids.
  • Viruses: Exposure to various viruses may trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells.
  • Family history:  A child with a parent or siblings with type 1 diabetes has a slightly increased risk of developing it.
  • Diet and birth weight: The diet and weight of a child who already has the genes for type 1 diabetes are more likely to get it.

While things like genetics, family history and birthweight cannot be controlled, a child’s diet and hygiene can be managed. Parents can keep a check on their child’s diet and make sure their child maintains proper hygiene by washing hands frequently with a baby-friendly hand wash to keep viruses away.

How Is Type 1 Diabetes In Kids Diagnosed? 

Your child’s doctor (mostly a pediatric endocrinologist), is most likely to use a blood test that measures the amount of glucose(sugar) in the blood. If the child’s blood sugar is high then that means he/she has diabetes. The doctor will further blood tests to determine the type of diabetes.

Treatment Of Type 1 Diabetes In Kids

The treatment for type 1 diabetes in kids is lifelong. Your child’s doctor will chart out a care plan as per your child, with things to do to keep the sugar levels in check daily. Your doctor will advise you to 

  • Give your child insulin by injection or an insulin pump.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy, balanced diet. 
  • Physical activity for your child
  • Check your child’s blood sugar levels at least four times a day. 

Dangers Of Type 1 Diabetes In Kids

If type 1 diabetes in kids is not controlled it can lead to:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): When a child’s body does not have enough insulin to let the glucose into the cells, the body starts to break down fat instead of sugar. DKA may make your child feel nauseous, cause tummy aches, vomiting, and fast breathing, and can even make the child unconscious.
  • Hyperglycemia: This causes the blood sugars to rise high. Hyperglycemia makes kids extra thirsty, and the urge to pee more than usual and also causes weight loss.
  • Hypoglycemia: In this case, the blood sugars are too low and can cause headaches, anxiety, and sweating. growth and development problems, and extreme weakness.

If you have a child with type 1 diabetes it can be worrying and also overwhelming but remember that it is common in kids. It can take some learning and time to adjust to taking care of a kid with type 1 diabetes but the more you learn and understand about it, the better you will be able to care for your child. 

Cover image source: freepik



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