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Juvenile Diabetes

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Juvenile diabetes, also known as type 1diabetes occurs in children when the pancreas stops producing insulin, thereby making the child dependent on external dose of insulin for carrying out glucose metabolism. This is the reason why juvenile diabetes is also known as insulin dependent diabetes.

Symptoms of Juvenile Diabetes

  • Excessive thirst  
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Change in behaviour, irritation
  • Dry itchy skin
  • Tingling sensation in feet
  • Fruity smell in mouth
  • Rise in blood sugar

Causes of Juvenile Diabetes

Doctors say that genetics and family history of diabetes play a major role behind development of juvenile diabetes.

It’s an autoimmune disorder wherein the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. The cells are destroyed as a result of which they cannot produce insulin any longer.

Factors that trigger juvenile diabetes include vitamin D deficiency, exposure to certain viruses like Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, etc. and consumption of nitrate enriched drinking water.

When to see a doctor?

Take your child for a medical check up if you notice the aforementioned symptoms in him/her.

Complications of Juvenile Diabetes

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Complications develop when blood sugar levels are not controlled appropriately. Presence of high blood sugar can bring forth long term health complications which could be heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage, osteoporosis, eye problems, etc.

Diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes

Diagnosis begins which checking the symptoms, medical history and family history. If the doctor suspects diabetes then your child will need to undergo the following tests:

  • Blood glucose tests: glucose tolerance test, fasting blood sugar test, random blood sugar test
  • Glycohemoglobin (HbA1c) test
  • Urine test for presence of glucose and ketone

All these tests are done to monitor the blood glucose level of the body based on various parameters.

The easiest way to confirm diabetes is from the results of fasting blood sugar test. Test reports are interpreted in the following way:

  • Normal- Blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetes- Blood sugar between 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes- Blood sugar 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher

Treatment of Juvenile Diabetes

Insulin therapy is the only medical treatment to bring down high blood glucose level. Insulin is injected subcutaneously  in specific intervals. Insulin pump, syringe or insulin pens may be used to deliver insulin.

Apart from this you need to monitor your child’s blood sugar level and incorporate the diet and lifestyle changes suggested by the doctor.

Coping with Juvenile Diabetes

Once your child has been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, he/she becomes permanently dependent on insulin. Your cooperation and support are utmost needed until your child understands and deals with the problem by self.

  • Help your child to lead a normal life by boosting his confidence
  • Make sure he/she is physically active, plays and exercises regularly
  • Educate him/her to the right way of diabetes management
  • Healthy diet is important. Follow the diet plan given by your doctor

Health improves considerably when you ensure that your child follows the holistic juvenile diabetes management plan, without fail. So get an early treatment and stay positive in all circumstances.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015