Diabetes Symptoms in Children

Diabetes in Children: Symptoms, Complications, Treatment

Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition where your child’s pancreas not produces the insulin your child has to endure, and you’ll need to replace the missing insulin. Type 1 diabetes in children used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.

The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children can be overwhelming in the beginning. All of a sudden you and your child — depending upon his or her age — must find out how to offer injections, count carbs and keep an eye on blood sugar level.

Although type 1 diabetes in children needs consistent care, advances in blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the day-to-day management of type 1 diabetes in children.


The symptoms and signs of type 1 diabetes in children generally develop rapidly, over a period of weeks. Look for:

  • Increased thirst and regular urination. As excess sugar builds up in your child’s blood stream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. This might leave your child thirsty. As a result, your child may drink — and urinate — more than usual.
  • Severe hunger. Without sufficient insulin to move sugar into your child’s cells, your child’s muscles and organs become energy-depleted. This triggers extreme cravings.
  • Weight-loss. In spite of consuming more than normal to alleviate cravings, your child may slim down — often quickly. Without the energy sugar materials, muscle tissues and fat stores merely diminish. Inexplicable weight reduction is often the first sign to be noticed.
  • Fatigue. If your child’s cells are deprived of sugar, she or he might end up being worn out and sluggish.
  • Irritability or uncommon behavior. Children with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes may suddenly seem moody or irritable.
  • Blurred vision. If your child’s blood sugar is too high, fluid might be pulled from the lenses of your child’s eyes. This might impact your child’s ability to focus plainly.
  • Yeast infection. Women with type 1 diabetes might have a genital yeast infection, and children can develop diaper rash caused by yeast.

See also: Sending Your Child to Camp With Diabetes

When to see a doctor

Speak with your child’s doctor if you observe any of the signs or symptoms of type 1 diabetes — increased thirst and frequent urination, severe cravings, weight loss, blurred vision, or fatigue.


Type 1 diabetes can impact almost every major organ in your child’s body, consisting of the heart, capillary, nerves, eyes and kidneys. The bright side is that keeping your child’s blood sugar level near to normal most of the time can dramatically minimize the risk of these complications.

Long-lasting complications of type 1 diabetes develop slowly. Eventually, if blood sugar levels aren’t well-controlled, diabetes complications might be disabling or perhaps life-threatening.

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes considerably increases your child’s risk of different cardiovascular issues — including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), cardiovascular disease, stroke, narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and hypertension — later on in life.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your child’s nerves, specifically in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain. Nerve damage typically takes place gradually over a long period of time.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). Diabetes can harm the many small blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your child’s blood. Severe damage can cause kidney failure or permanent end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy). Diabetic retinopathy can cause loss of sight. Diabetes can likewise cause cataracts and a higher risk of glaucoma.
  • Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or bad blood circulation to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left neglected, cuts and blisters can end up being serious infections.
  • Skin problem. Diabetes might leave your child more prone to skin issues, including bacterial infections, fungal infections and itching.
  • Osteoporosis. Diabetes might lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing your child’s risk of osteoporosis as a grownup.


Treatment for type 1 diabetes is a long-lasting dedication of blood glucose monitoring, insulin, healthy eating and regular exercise — even for kids. And as your child grows and changes, so will his or her diabetes treatment strategy. Throughout the years, your child may need different dosages or types of insulin, a brand-new meal plan, or other treatment changes.

If handling your child’s diabetes seems frustrating, take it one day at a time. Some days you’ll handle your child’s blood sugar perfectly. Other days, it may seem as if nothing works well. Don’t forget that you’re not alone.

You’ll work closely with your child’s diabetes treatment group — doctor, diabetes teacher and signed up dietitian — to keep your child’s blood glucose level as close to normal as possible.

Blood sugar tracking

Depending on what type of insulin therapy your child requires, you might need to check and record your child’s blood sugar a minimum of 4 times a day but most likely more often. This needs frequent finger sticks.

Some blood glucose meters enable testing at other websites. Regular screening is the only method to make sure that your child’s blood sugar level stays within his or her target range — which might alter as your child grows and alters. Your child’s doctor will let you understand what your child’s blood sugar target range is.

Your doctor might ask you to keep a log of the blood sugar readings, or she or he may download that information from the blood sugar meter.

Continuous glucose tracking (CGM)

CGM is the latest way to keep an eye on blood sugar levels and may be most handy for people who have actually developed hypoglycemia unawareness. CGM connects to the body using a great needle just under the skin that checks blood sugar level every couple of minutes.

CGM isn’t yet considered as precise as standard blood sugar level tracking, so it’s not considered a replacement approach for tracking blood sugar however is used as an extra tool.

Insulin and other medications

Anybody who has type 1 diabetes needs insulin treatment to endure. Due to the fact that stomach enzymes disrupt insulin taken by mouth, oral insulin isn’t really an alternative for decreasing blood glucose.

Lots of types of insulin are offered, consisting of:

  • Rapid-acting insulin, such as insulin lispro (Humalog) and insulin aspart (NovoLog), starts operating in 5 to 15 minutes and peaks about an hour after injection.
  • Short-acting insulin, such as human insulin (Humulin R, Novolin R, others), begins working about 30 minutes after injection and usually peaks in two to four hours.
  • Long-acting insulin, such as insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin detemir (Levemir), has nearly no peak and may provide coverage for as long as 20 to 26 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH insulin (Humulin N, Novolin N), starts working 30 minutes to an hour after it’s taken and peaks in four to six hours. NPH insulin is comparable in effectiveness to long-acting types of insulin however might be more likely to cause low blood sugar level. Utilizing NPH insulin allows for less versatility with mealtimes, in addition to in the quantity of carbs your child can eat.

Depending on your child’s age and requires, the doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night.

Also read: Best Diabetes Books for Children and Their Parents

Insulin delivery options

Frequently insulin is injected utilizing a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen — a device that appears like an ink pen, other than the cartridge is filled with insulin.

An insulin pump likewise may be an option for some children. The pump is a device about the size of a cellular phone endured the outside of the body. In most cases, a tube links the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s inserted under the skin of the abdominal area.

A wireless pump that uses small pods filled with insulin is another offered option. The pump is programmed to give specific quantities of insulin immediately. It can be adapted to deliver more or less insulin depending upon meals, activity level and blood sugar level.

Healthy eating

Contrary to popular understanding, there’s no diabetes diet. Your child will not be restricted to a lifetime of boring, dull foods. Instead, your child will require a lot of fruits, vegetables and entire grains — foods that are high in nutrition and low in fat and calories.

Your child’s dietitian will likely suggest that your child — and the rest of the household — take in fewer animal items and sweets. In truth, it’s the best eating prepare for the whole family. Sugary foods are OK once in a while, as long as they’re included in your child’s meal strategy.

Yet understanding what and how much to feed your child can be a challenge. A registered dietitian can help you produce a meal plan that fits your child’s health goals, food choices and lifestyle.

Certain foods, such as those with a high sugar or fat material, may be more difficult to include into your child’s meal plan than much healthier choices. For instance, high-fat foods — due to the fact that fat slows digestion — might cause a spike in blood sugar several hours after your child has actually consumed.

Regrettably, there’s no set formula to inform you how your child’s body will process different foods. But, as time passes, you’ll discover more about how your child’s favorites affect his/her blood sugar, and after that you can learn to compensate for them.

Physical activity

Everyone requires regular aerobic workout, and children who have type 1 diabetes are no exception. Motivate your child to get routine physical activity. Sign up for a sports team or dance lessons. Even better, exercise together. Play catch in the backyard. Walk or run through your area. Visit an indoor climbing wall or local swimming pool. Make physical activity part of your child’s daily routine.

But remember that exercise usually lowers blood sugar, and it can affect blood glucose levels for as much as 12 hours after workout. If your child begins a brand-new activity, inspect your child’s blood sugar regularly than usual up until you learn how his/her body reacts to the activity. You might have to adjust your child’s meal plan or insulin dosages to compensate for the increased activity.

Investigational treatments

  • Pancreas transplant. With a successful pancreas transplant, your child would not require injected insulin. However pancreas transplants aren’t constantly effective — and the procedure presents major threats.

Your child would require a life time of potent immune-suppressing drugs to prevent organ rejection. These drugs can have severe side effects, consisting of a high risk of infection and organ injury.

Eligibility for a pancreas transplant is restricted mainly to people with kidney failure, and the majority of surgeries also consist of kidney transplant.

  • Islet cell hair transplant. Researchers also are try out islet cell transplant, which provides new insulin-producing cells from a donor pancreas. Although this speculative procedure has actually met with problems in the past, new strategies and better drugs to avoid islet cell rejection may hold promise for the future.

However, islet cell hair transplant still requires using immune-suppressing medications, and simply as it maded with its own natural islet cells, the body typically destroys transplanted islet cells, making the time off insulin short-lived.

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