Diabetes
is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in
the body. Our bodies break down the foods we eat into glucose and other
nutrients needed, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream from the
gastrointestinal tract. The glucose
level
 in the blood rises after a meal and triggers the pancreas to
produce the hormone insulin and
release it into the bloodstream. But in people with diabetes, the body either
can’t make or can’t respond to insulin properly.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the
major types of diabetes. Both make the blood sugar level higher than normal.
The most common type of diabetes in children is Type 1 diabetes also known by a
variety of other names including Juvenile Diabetes, Brittle diabetes,
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and Sugar diabetes.

Once a person has type 1 diabetes, it
does not go away and requires lifelong treatment. Kids and teens with type 1
diabetes depend on daily insulin
injections
 or an insulin
pump
 to control their blood glucose levels.

Causes of
Type 1 Diabetes

Type
1 diabetes results when the body fails to produce insulin, the hormone that
allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to produce fuel. It is considered
an auto-immune disease because the body’s immune system attacks and
destroys the cells that produce insulin. When
glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, depriving the cells
of nutrition.

Symptoms of
Type 1 Diabetes

According
to the American Academy of Pediatrics, common symptoms may include:

  • High levels of sugar
    in the blood when tested
  • High levels of sugar
    in the urine when tested
  • Unusual thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger but
    loss of weight; loss of appetite may be seen in younger children. 
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Irritability and
    mood changes
  • Serious diaper rash
    that does not respond to treatment 
  • Fruity breath and
    rapid breathing
  • Yeast infection in
    girls

Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

This
requires one or more blood tests for glucose and they include:

  • A fasting blood
    sugar
  • Oral glucose
    tolerant test
  • Glycated haemoglobin
    (A1C) test.

Treatment of
Type 1 Diabetes

Requires good diabetes
control
 to minimize symptoms; prevent
health problems; and help kids have normal physical, mental, emotional, and
social growth and development. To do this, parents and kids should aim to keep
blood sugar levels within the goal range as much as possible.

In general, kids with type 1 diabetes need to:

  • take insulin as
    prescribed
  • eat a healthy,
    balanced diet with accurate carbohydrate counts
  • check blood sugar levels as
    prescribed
  • get regular physical
    activity

Strict adherence to the treatment plan helps kids stay
healthy, but treating diabetes isn’t the same as curing it. Right now, there’s
no cure for diabetes, so kids with type 1 diabetes will need treatment for the
rest of their lives. But with proper care, they should look and feel healthy
and go on to live long, productive lives, just like other kids.

Complications of
Type 1 Diabetes

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye problems
  • Neuropathy (nerve
    problems)
  • Foot problems

How to help a
Type 1 Diabetic child?

The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for a child can be so
devastating, the child may feel being punished, guilty, fearful of death. As a
parent, you can help the kid live happier, healthier by giving constant,
encouragement, learning more about diabetes, making the child eat properly,
exercise and stay on top of blood sugar control every day.