Diabetes is not an age-specific disease. It can happen to anyone, subjecting to their family history. As this disease is remarkably increasing amongst the world population, the burning question goes “How did you know your child has Diabetes?”
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that is characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose which progresses damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, etc. due to the absolute or relative absence of insulin.
Infamous symptoms of Diabetes are:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive hunger
- Feeling very thirsty
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds
- Rapid Weight loss
- Gradual loss of sensation in peripheral organs
Table of Content
Have You Ever Checked if Your Child Has Diabetes?
Diabetic patients have increased alarmingly in the past few decades. As a matter of great concern, at least 14% of them are children below the 15 years group.
The National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020 states that around 210,000 children and teenagers under the age of 20 years in the United States of America have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Early detection and treatment can improve their health and wellness lifelong.
It must be agonizing to see your dear child suffer from a dangerous disease like diabetes. But if you had been able to recognize the signs earlier, do you feel his state would have been better?
With diabetes, comes a lot of other problems. The risk of life gradually increases in any human because of it.
Suggestions: Watch out for the warning signs of Diabetes in your kid. Do not ignore them. Run required tests for confirming if your child has Diabetes. Rely on a healthy diet and a good exercise routine. Take the prescribed medicines at the right time.
Health Complications in children:
In the longer run, a child may have the following issues in their major organs if they are unaware of their diabetes:
- Eyes: glaucoma, Diabetes retinopathy, cataract, etc
- Legs and hands: Tingling sensation, loss of sensation
- Kidney: acute renal failure, kidney stone, etc
- Liver: hepatic failure, liver cirrhosis
- Brain: neuropathy
- Heart: cardiac failure, atherosclerosis, etc
The agony and helplessness to see your child suffer can never be put to words. Every party that you visit, or every social invitation you’re invited to, the question remains at the back of your mind about “What is my child eating?”, “Is he taking any sweet stuff?”, “Has he skipped the dessert section?”
As a D-Mom or a diabetic mom, you have a few duties to fulfill for your newly diagnosed child with Diabetes, like:
- Stress less on what the outcome is and think smart.
- Counsel your child wisely
- Keep a regular check on the glucometer
- Do not overthink about your child’s future. He’s going to be just fine!
- Do not tie him down and restrict his activities.
Warning signs of Diabetes in Children
According to research done by the University of Pittsburgh for over 30 years, the life expectancy of a child born after 1965 having diabetes type 1 is about 69 years. A few warning signs for the children that should draw the attention of parents are:
- Thirsty feeling
- Frequent urination or bed wetting in a trained child
- Unintentional weight loss
- Emotional imbalance
- Fruity smelling breath
- Heavy breathing
- Sudden vision changes
Red flags of Diabetes
Children are prone to diabetes. As they are unable to understand what is wrong with them, the intervention of the parents is very crucial. Watch out if your child has the following signs:
This is a skin condition where red velvety dark skin patches are seen in the neck, armpits, groin, and other folds of the body. This happens due to excessive melanin deposition in the aforementioned areas. It is a primary and alarming sign of Diabetes.
Often it is neglected by parents as an unclear dermal surface. Many don’t even know that this is a vital marker for Diabetes type 2. If you see this in your child, make sure you take him or her to the nearest hospital and do routine checkups for detecting diabetes. Also, cut down his carbohydrate and sugar intake.
Rapid Weight Loss
Did you notice how your child took an extra spoon of pasta at the dinner table? Are you completely sure this is because he is hungry? Is he being difficult to do household chores? Can there be a reason hidden behind why he is always so drowsy and lousy these days?
Predominantly, diabetes causes the excess need to eat. You will be driven away by midnight snack breaks, all-nighter sleep routines, overeating, etc.
Interestingly, all these do not contribute to weight gain. Rather, a child with diabetes starts to show ill health along with rapid weight loss.
The term coined for the decrease in muscle mass due to lack of physical activity and a rather sedentary lifestyle is called muscle wasting.
If your child has muscle wasting disease, it can occur from Diabetes. He or she will have immense weight loss despite increased intake of food.
Things to Know About Diabetes
- There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
- Type 1 is an autoimmune condition of the body where the beta cells of the pancreas have stopped producing the insulin hormone. It is more common in children and adolescents.
- In Type 2, insulin production is faulty enough not to break the carbohydrates and use them properly. It is more common amongst the world population.
- It is a chronic condition that has no existing cure.
- Becoming more common in young adult population
- It can go unnoticed for years.
- Serious associated damages to major organs like eye, liver, feet, kidney, etc
- Act as a comorbidity
- It is possible to manage and prevent diabetes etc
Detection of Diabetes
Owing to the symptoms that have raised a question of whether or not your child has Diabetes, a few diagnostic tests can end your query. They are:
- Fasting blood sugar
- Glucose tolerance test
- Random blood sugar
- Glucose screening test
- Oral glucose tolerance test etc
In between all of these, HbA1c is most trusted.
Gestational diabetes Mellitus (GDM)
Gestational diabetes is a clinical condition in which a pregnant mother develops a high glucose level even though she does not have diabetes in the first place. This is a vital cause for causing diabetes in the child after the delivery.
Women at high risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus are featured by:
- BMI more than 30
- Previous history of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
- Previous history of Macrosomic baby (birth weight >4.5kg)
- Diabetes Mellitus in first-degree relatives
Complications of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus are:
- Macrosomic baby
- Congenital anomaly of newborn
- Increased risk of birth in trauma in newborn
- Stillbirth birth it neonatal mortality
- Development of maternal Diabetes Mellitus after delivery
- Diabetes Mellitus in child
To answer the question How did you know your child has Diabetes, it’s simple: You look out for him. Thoroughly observe the difficulties he is facing. Be frank and open to him. Regular medical check-ups are essential to ensure his optimum health and well-being.
If your child has Diabetes, make sure he is not too worried about it. Let him lead a normal life but closely monitor him. Remember to go easy, but not lenient!
The FAQs About Diabetes in Children
So many queries exist about children having diabetes. A few of them are addressed below:
Can a Child be Misdiagnosed by Type 1 Diabetes?
Life-threatening conditions may arise if your child is not diagnosed with Diabetes at the proper time. It is essential to get your child checked as soon as he has wet the bed or is asking for too much food. Keep tabs on his activities and see if he isn’t running out of breath too soon. Ignorance of diabetes may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis which is extremely fatal.
As diabetes is considered an adult’s disease, it is often misdiagnosed in children. 24% of the population below 18 years were primarily diagnosed with some other health complications and later diagnosed with Diabetes. On the other hand to a great surprise, 97% of the world’s diabetic population, were misdiagnosed with type 2.
Can My Child inherit My Diabetes?
Usually, the insulin resistance type of Diabetes is hereditary. This is type 2 diabetes. If you are a man, your child getting diabetes from you is 1 in 17. But if you are a diabetic woman below 25 years old, your child having a possibility of diabetes from you is 1 in 100. But if you have Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, the equation may vary from another person.
What Age Does Juvenile Diabetes Show Up?
Type 2 diabetes shows up by the time you are above 40. But in the case of juvenile diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes, it may show symptoms as early as an infant or even after 5 years of birth. Little symptoms like wetting the bed frequently, crying for food, excessive irritation can be the cause of diabetes in them.
Toddlers at times try to explain they are having difficulties and often as parents we ignore it. Listen to what your child has to say if he is complaining about being too tired to get his math homework done.
Which Test is Most Accurate for Detecting Diabetes in Children?
Blood tests are most accurate for detecting children with diabetes. Fasting plasma glucose should be measured after fasting overnight for about eight to twelve hours. This has been the standard diagnostic procedure for detecting diabetes over the years.
In addition, HbA1c can be done to keep your levels in check. The reference range for fasting plasma glucose less in 140mg/dl(7.8 mmol/l) is considered normal.
Thanks for reading!