Type 1 Diabetes and Children

type one diabetes and childrenIt seems as though year after year more and more children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes across the United States. Of course this can be disheartening and stressful for many parents, and they may even blame themselves. We try so hard to protect our children that when they are diagnosed with a disease we often wonder what we did wrong. However when it comes to type 1 diabetes it is important for parents to take a step back and realize that there was most likely nothing that they could have done to prevent it. The more important thing to do at this point is to learn how to take care of the child and teach them how to take care of themselves.

For someone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes their body is not able to make insulin. The reason for this is because the body’s immune system actually goes to war with itself and kills off the cells which produce insulin in the pancreas, and they are never able to produce insulin again. Doctors and scientists are not sure why this occurs, and they have not found a way to be able to stop it from happening. It is important for the parents to understand that they could not have prevented it and that the child did nothing to cause it. Now is the time for understanding.

Once a child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it is important to realize that it is a lifelong disease. There is no cure for it, only a treatment plan that must be followed each and every day. They will need to take insulin for the rest of their lives, as well as maintain a healthy eating routine. With type 1 diabetes, the signs and the symptoms of the disease can happen quickly or they may take a period of time. Things to look for are going to the bathroom more often to pee, seeming to be thirsty more often, not having the same kind of energy they once had, or if they are losing weight without an explanation. You should also check that they are gaining weight as they grow. One or more of these symptoms warrants a trip to the doctor.

Although these are the most common symptoms in a child with type 1 diabetes there are other things to look for as well. If your child does not have problem with bedwetting and all of a sudden it starts, it could be a sign. In little girls that have not yet reached puberty, if they have a sudden yeast infection this is also a sign. For a child that has not yet been diagnosed due to symptoms not being recognized they could start having trouble with breathing, nausea, pain in the stomach, vomiting, and breath that smells fruity. If diagnosis is still not made and the diabetes is left untreated it can lead to more serious complications such as kidney disease, stroke, and even loss of vision. Early treatment and diagnosis is key to staying healthy.

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