Symptoms and Diagnosis of Diabetes Among Children

Although diabetes was previously associated with the middle-aged and older people, this disease is now becoming rampant among children and adolescents. Both types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, can affect the younger members of the society. Type 1 diabetes has been more common among children than type 2 diabetes, but still, many clinical studies that show that cases of type 2 diabetes in this age group has been on the rise recently.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, is a condition wherein the body’s own immune system attacks the beta cells of the pancreas, which produces insulin. The lack of insulin production in the body often leads to a rise in blood and urine glucose. However, previous studies revealed that around 8% to 45% of children diagnosed with diabetes might also have type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes mellitus, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, patients produce insulin. However, the body becomes resistant to this substance, which results to the insulin not being properly utilized by the body, causing hyperglycemia or excessively high blood glucose levels. Both conditions can be devastating for the child and early diagnosis will be helpful so that proper medical attention be given immediately to the patient.

Symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes may look similar in some aspects. However, in type 1, or immune-meditated diabetes, patients are usually not obese or overweight, unlike those who suffer from type 2 or insulin-resistant diabetes. Obesity is one of the major signs of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Often and recent weight loss is also common among type 1 diabetics, while those who have type 2 diabetes show little or no signs of weight loss. Patients who have insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus also experience excessive thirst and frequent urination while among non-insulin-dependent diabetics, their thirst mechanism and urination appear to remain normal. Ketones were found present among type 1 patients upon diagnosis; type 2 patients do not excrete such compound although sugar is normally present in their urine. Ketone is a class of organic compounds that have a carbonyl group connected to a carbon atom. It is a type of acid remaining in the blood when the body burns its own fat. Too many ketones in the bloodstream may be harmful, as an excessive level of this compound may cause ketoacidosis, which can then lead to the patient being at a higher risk of getting in a coma or, in serious cases, this may also cause death. During diagnosis, about 35% of type 1 patients have ketoacidosis while only 5% among type 2 patients have this condition. Dark, shiny patches on the skin are also visible among 90% of the children affected by insulin-resistant diabetes. These skin discolorations are often seen in between the fingers and toes as well as on the back of the neck. Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, is also present among type 2 diabetes patients. PCOS is a female endocrine disorder, which often leads to female sub fertility.

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