Diabetes in children & teens : Symptoms & Diagnosis

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that does not break down the glucose from the food effectively to provide it as energy to the cells. Diabetes is of two types. Type 1, where the pancreas do not make enough insulin to process the sugar in the body. And Type 2, where pancreas make insulin but the body isn’t able to utilize it effectively. Diabetes in children and teens is referred to as ‘juvenile’ Diabetes. Although Type 1, is more prevalent, Type 2 cases are becoming increasingly common due poor lifestyle choices in children and teens.

Parents of children and teens must be actively involved in monitoring and managing their kids’ sugar levels, if they want them to have normal physical, emotional and mental growth. With school and other activities, it is essential that blood sugar is always kept in the goal range. Look for schools, daycares and classes that have prior knowledge on managing children with Diabetes- so that they have the right diet and timely medication. Also, encourage a healthy diet (vegetables, greens, fruits), develop a yoga/exercise routine every morning and limit any sugary intake to help them cope with it better.

What are the Symptoms?

Type 1: Weight loss, increased appetite, Frequent urination and increased intake of liquids, lethargy, fatigue, wounds don’t heal soon

Type 2: Abnormal weight gain, blurred vision, increased fatigue, abdominal pain, frequent urination, increased thirst, slow healing of wounds

How is it Diagnosed?

A blood sugar test will confirm whether the child or teen has Diabetes. If the blood sugar is high, the doctor will conduct some other blood tests to confirm the category- Type 1 or Type 2. Since, the treatment and management is different for both. The doctor may also recommend a pediatric endocrinologist, as they specialize in diagnosis and treatment of children having diseases of the endocrine system.

Children and teens with Type 1 Diabetes will be required to take insulin or medication depending on their blood sugar levels. Those with Type 2 Diabetes may also be required to take either, but dietary changes and exercise can help keep the sugar in control to quite an extent.