Understanding Juvenile Diabetes
Juvenile diabetes, as with other forms of the disease, occurs when insulin does not secrete properly from the pancreas. This causes blood glucose levels to be high in the body and the metabolism to be off as well. It is the job of the pancreas to produce insulin (in the right amount) for the sugar in your food. However, when someone is diabetic, the pancreas either does not produce any insulin or only very little. It is also possible that the body’s cells are not responding to the insulin even if it is being produced. You may find that juvenile diabetes is also known as type 1 diabetes and many adults are also diagnosed with the disease as well.
Often, juvenile diabetes goes undiagnosed which can lead to various other medical conditions the longer that it goes untreated. These include diabetic retinopathy (in the eyes) which can lead to blindness, nerve conditions which can cause problems with the digestive tract, ulcers on the feet and even impotence, kidney failure and concerns with blood vessels that can lead to stroke, possible heart attack or obstructions in the peripheral arteries. Early detection is the best way to take the steps needed in order to stay healthy and try to avoid any of these complications.
There is no clear answer as to why children are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Although obesity and bad eating habits may contribute, they are not the cause of the disease. However, type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes does tend to run in the family. Of all the diseases that children can be exposed to, this is one that they have a higher rate of being diagnosed with. Because it is hereditary, a child that has family members already diagnosed runs a risk 100 times higher of also suffering from it.
However, the up side of the situation is that for a family which already has a child with the disease, they are more likely to know just what to look out for in the way of symptoms. This may be more difficult for a family without previous exposure to symptoms and knowledge.
Medical signs to look out for are blurred vision, abnormal breathing (breathing becoming heavy), lethargy and drowsiness, constant hunger, loss of weight that has no explanation, regular thirst, going to the bathroom more often or feelings of the hands and feet being tingly or numb. It is even possible that the person’s breath will have a smell that is fruity. If you notice any of these symptoms it is time for a check-up.
In order to be tested for juvenile diabetes there are several blood tests that are done as well as a urine test. If the diagnosis is confirmed, there are several things that are recommended as part of the treatment. These include a change in diet, exercise, monitoring the blood glucose level at the correct times and taking any medications that are prescribed such as insulin. Although there are some lifestyle changes that need to be made, your child can still have a normal childhood with a little planning ahead, following the doctor’s orders.
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