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How does a child develop type 1 diabetes
What Is Type 1 Diabetes? (for Parents)
If your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you probably have questions. Here are the basics.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
People who have type 1 diabetes can’t use glucose (the body’s main type of sugar) for energy. That’s because their body stopped making the hormone insulin. Normally, after we eat, the amount of glucose in the blood (blood sugar) goes up. When it does, the pancreas sends insulin into the blood. Insulin works like a key that opens the doors of the body’s cells to let the glucose in, giving the cells the energy they need.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make insulin. Without insulin, glucose can't get into the cells. It stays in the blood, which leads to high blood sugar. Having too much sugar in the blood isn’t healthy and can cause problems. Some problems happen quickly and need treatment right away, while others develop over time and show up later in life.
What Happens in Type 1 Diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. So the body can’t make insulin anymore.
This is different from type 2 diabetes, where the body still makes insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work as it should.
Why Do Some People Get Type 1 Diabetes?
No one knows for sure why some people get type 1 diabetes. Doctors and scientists think a person’s genes make them more likely to get it. But just having the genes for diabetes probably isn't enough. It’s likely that something else needs to happen. Scientists are studying if other things — like some viral infections, a person’s birth weight, or their diet — might make someone who already has the genes for type 1 diabetes more likely to get it.
Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, and can happen in people of any age.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes can come on over time or suddenly. Sometimes, kids don’t have diabetes symptoms yet and the condition is discovered when blood or urine tests are done for another reason. Kids who show symptoms may:
need to pee a lot
start to wet the bed after having been dry at night
be thirstier and drink more than usual
feel tired often
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosed?
Doctors use a blood test that measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. High blood sugars show that a child has diabetes. Then, the doctor will do more blood tests to find out what type it is.
Kids with type 1 diabetes often go to a pediatric endocrinologist. This kind of doctor finds and treats problems affecting hormones, like diabetes.
How Is Type 1 Diabetes Treated?
Type 1 diabetes needs lifelong treatment because there is no cure yet. Doctors treat type 1 diabetes using a diabetes care plan. The care plan tells you and your child the things to do every day to help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
Each child’s diabetes care plan is made just for them. But all plans have the same 4 basic parts:
take insulin (by injection or an insulin pump)
eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes counting carbohydrates
check blood sugar levels at least 4 times a day
get regular physical activity
Following the diabetes care plan helps kids stay healthy, now and into the future.
What Problems Can Happen With Type 1 Diabetes?
Not having the right amount of sugar in the blood can lead to:
hyperglycemia: This is when blood sugars are too high. Kids with hyperglycemia may be extra thirsty, pee more than usual, and lose weight. High blood sugars can be treated. If they aren’t, kids can develop health issues later in life.
diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): This serious condition needs treatment right away. When there’s not enough insulin in the body to let the glucose into the cells, the body starts to break down fat instead of sugar. Symptoms of DKA can include nausea, vomiting, belly pain, fast breathing, and, in severe cases, unconsciousness.
hypoglycemia: This is when blood sugars are too low and can sometime happen when people are being treated for diabetes. Symptoms can include headache, weakness, shakiness, anxiety, and sweating.
growth and development problems: Some kids might grow slower than their peers or start puberty (when kids start growing into adults) later than usual.
How Can Parents Help?
Now is the perfect time to help your child to create healthy habits for life. Here’s how:
Get involved with daily care. Help your child put their care plan into action every day. From counting carbs, to calculating insulin doses, and giving injections, there’s a lot to learn at first. Share the responsibilities with your child. Over time, they’ll be able to take on more on their own. Turn to your child’s care team with any questions about the care plan or daily care.
Learn all you can about diabetes. The more you know about type 1 diabetes, the more confident you’ll feel about helping your child manage it day to day. And a solid understanding of diabetes lets you advocate for your child. You can share your knowledge with important people in your child’s life, like grandparents, teachers, coaches, and babysitters. Doing so helps you build a community of support for your child.
Encourage your child. It can take a while to adjust to the new responsibilities that come with type 1 diabetes. Remind your child that many kids their age have type 1 diabetes, and they follow a similar care plan. If your child has concerns that you’re not sure how to handle, ask the care team. They’ll connect you with the right resources.
Having a child with type 1 diabetes may seem overwhelming at times, but you're not alone. If you have questions or problems, reach out to your child’s diabetes care team — they can help with all kinds of issues, and will guide your family through this journey.
You also can learn more about type 1 diabetes online:
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
CDC: Type 1 Diabetes
Reviewed by: Cheryl Patterson, RD, CDE
Date reviewed: September 2021
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
People of all ages can develop type 1 diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body for use as energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and causes many of the symptoms and complications of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes was once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. It usually develops in children, teens, and young adults, but it can happen at any age.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes, but it can be treated successfully by:
Following your doctor’s recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle.
Managing your blood sugar.
Getting regular health checkups.
Getting diabetes self-management education and support.
If your child has type 1 diabetes—especially a young child—you’ll handle diabetes care on a day-to-day basis. Daily care will include serving healthy foods, giving insulin injections, and watching for and treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You’ll also need to stay in close contact with your child’s health care team. They will help you understand the treatment plan and how to help your child stay healthy.
Much of the information that follows applies to children as well as adults. You can also visit JDRF’s T1D Resourcesexternal icon for more information on managing your child’s type 1 diabetes.
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake). This reaction destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells. This process can go on for months or years before any symptoms appear.
Some people have certain genes (traits passed on from parent to child) that make them more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. However, many of them won’t go on to have type 1 diabetes even if they have the genes. A trigger in the environment, such as a virus, may also play a part in developing type 1 diabetes. Diet and lifestyle habits don’t cause type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
It can take months or years before symptoms of type 1 diabetes are noticed. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in just a few weeks or months. Once symptoms appear, they can be severe.
Some type 1 diabetes symptoms are similar to symptoms of other health conditions. Don’t guess! If you think you could have type 1 diabetes, see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested. Untreated diabetes can lead to very serious—even fatal—health problems.
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as clear as for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. However, studies show that family history plays a part.
Testing for Type 1 Diabetes
A simple blood test will let you know if you have diabetes. If you were tested at a health fair or pharmacy, follow up at a clinic or doctor’s office. That way you’ll be sure the results are accurate.
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also be tested for autoantibodies. These substances indicate your body is attacking itself and are often found with type 1 diabetes but not with type 2. You may have your urine tested for ketones too. Ketones are produced when your body burns fat for energy. Having ketones in your urine indicates you have type 1 diabetes instead of type 2.
Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team:
Primary care doctor
Registered dietitian nutritionist
Also ask your family, teachers, and other important people in your life for help and support. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!
If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin shots (or wear an insulin pump) every day. Insulin is needed to manage your blood sugar levels and give your body energy. You can’t take insulin as a pill. That’s because the acid in your stomach would destroy it before it could get into your bloodstream. Your doctor will work with you to figure out the most effective type and dosage of insulin for you.
You’ll also need to do regular blood sugar checks. Ask your doctor how often you should check it and what your target blood sugar levels should be. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to target as possible will help you prevent or delay diabetes-related complications.
Stress is a part of life, but it can make managing diabetes harder. Both managing your blood sugar levels and dealing with daily diabetes care can be tougher to do. Regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and exercises to relax can help. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these and other ways you can manage stress.
Healthy lifestyle habits are really important too:
Making healthy food choices
Being physically active
Controlling your blood pressure
Controlling your cholesterol
Make regular appointments with your health care team. They’ll help you stay on track with your treatment plan and offer new ideas and strategies if needed.
Hypoglycemia and Diabetic Ketoacidosis
These 2 conditions are common complications of diabetes, and you’ll need to know how to handle them. Meet with your doctor for step-by-step instructions. You may want to bring a family member with you to the appointment so they learn the steps too.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can happen quickly and needs to be treated quickly. It’s most often caused by:
Too much insulin.
Waiting too long for a meal or snack.
Not eating enough.
Getting extra physical activity.
Talk to your doctor if you have low blood sugar several times a week. Your treatment plan may need to be changed.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication of diabetes that can be life-threatening. DKA develops when you don’t have enough insulin to let blood sugar into your cells. Very high blood sugar and low insulin levels lead to DKA. The two most common causes are illness and missing insulin shots. Talk with your doctor and make sure you understand how you can prevent and treat DKA.
Get Diabetes Education
Meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:
Develop and stick to a healthy eating and activity plan
Test your blood sugar and keep a record of the results
Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
Give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump
Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care
Ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and support services and to recommend a diabetes educator. You can also search this nationwide directoryexternal icon for a list of programs in your community.
Tap into online diabetes communities for encouragement, insights, and support. Check out the American Diabetes Association’s Community pageexternal icon and JDRF’s TypeOneNationexternal icon. Both are great ways to connect with others who share your experience.
Top of Page
Type 1 Diabetes Resources and Support from JDRFexternal icon
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Childhood diabetes | Prevention | GBUZ "City Polyclinic No. 6 of Novorossiysk" MH KK
Diabetes in children: causes, symptoms and signs, diagnosis, treatment.
) in the blood. Diabetes mellitus ranks first among all endocrine diseases in children. Diabetes mellitus in children is relatively acute and without appropriate treatment, as a rule, acquires a severe, progressive course. This development of diabetes in children is due to the intensive growth of the child's body and, accordingly, increased metabolism
Diagnosis of diabetes in children is based on identifying the symptoms of the disease and determining the concentration of glucose and insulin in the blood. Treatment of diabetes mellitus in children includes diet, dosed exercise, treatment with insulin preparations.
Forms of diabetes in children. There are two main types of diabetes mellitus:
Insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1 diabetes).
Non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes).
While type 2 diabetes mellitus predominates among adults, type 1 diabetes mellitus (insulin-dependent) predominates among children.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by very low levels of insulin in the blood, as a result of which the diabetic child is dependent on insulin treatment.
Features of the development of diabetes in children
A child's pancreas (an organ that produces the hormone insulin) is very small. By the age of 10, the mass of the child's pancreas doubles, reaching a size of 12 cm and a weight of just over 50 g. The production of insulin by the pancreas is one of its most important functions, which is finally formed by the fifth year of a child's life. It is from this age and up to about 11 years that children are especially susceptible to diabetes. All metabolic processes in a child's body proceed much faster than in an adult. Carbohydrate metabolism (assimilation of sugars) is no exception. Accordingly, a child needs to consume 10 g of carbohydrates per 1 kg of weight per day. Therefore, all children are very fond of sweets - this is a natural need of their body. The metabolism of carbohydrates is also affected by the nervous system of the child, which is not yet fully formed, therefore it can malfunction and also affect blood sugar levels. Contrary to popular belief, even the consumption of significant amounts of sweets in childhood does not lead to the development of diabetes.
In general, the risk of developing diabetes is higher in premature, underdeveloped children, or adolescents during puberty. Also, the risk of developing diabetes is higher in children subject to significant physical exertion (for example, in pupils of sports schools).
The main cause of diabetes in children is a viral infection that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Among childhood infections, many can cause the development of diabetes (mumps, rubella, measles, etc.). In this regard, one of the most important measures to prevent the development of diabetes in children is the timely vaccination of the child.
The course of diabetes mellitus in children also depends on the age of the child at which the disease began. The younger the child with diabetes, the more severe it is and the greater the risk of various complications. As a rule, once having arisen, diabetes in a child never goes away. A child with diabetes will need supportive care throughout his life.
Risk factors for diabetes in children
There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the development of diabetes in children. The presence of one or more risk factors greatly increases a child's chances of developing diabetes. Risk factors for diabetes in children:
children born to diabetic mothers
both parents of the child have diabetes mellitus
frequent acute viral diseases
birth weight exceeded 4.5 kg
other metabolic disorders (hypothyroidism, obesity)
Symptoms of diabetes in children are almost the same as in adults:
excessive urine output (more than 2-3 liters per day)
fatigue, inability to concentrate
Parents do not always notice these symptoms, which makes it difficult to detect diabetes in children. Despite the difficulty in identifying the symptoms of diabetes in a child, there are characteristic signs of diabetes in children that make it easier to identify the disease. So, for example, an important symptom of diabetes is bedwetting. Children with diabetes produce 2-4 times more urine than healthy children. Also, in children with diabetes, skin lesions (furunculosis), itching of the skin, etc. often occur. In infants, diabetes mellitus is accompanied by indigestion (diarrhea, constipation, vomiting), anxiety. A diabetic child suckles a lot and greedily at the breast or drinks water. From sweet urine, linen and diapers become hard, crispy. These symptoms are often observed in moderate or severe diabetes mellitus. In mild diabetes mellitus, sick children may have little to no complaints or signs of illness, and the diagnosis is based on blood and urine sugar levels.
Treatment of diabetes in children.
Treatment of diabetes in a child includes: exercise, diet, medication.
Exercise for children with diabetes
Exercise increases the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin and lowers blood sugar levels. In this regard, dosed physical activity is an important part of the treatment of children with diabetes. It should be emphasized that only dosed physical activity is useful in diabetes, while uncontrolled physical activity in patients with diabetes mellitus contributes to the development of hypoglycemic conditions.
Proper exercise management in diabetic children necessarily includes the use of additional carbohydrates before, during and after exercise in accordance with the recommendations given by your doctor, as well as periodic monitoring of blood glucose levels.
It is important to measure blood glucose before, during and after exercise in order to correctly dose insulin with a short or intermediate duration of action.
Nutrition of a sick child plays an important role in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The nutrition of a child with diabetes should meet all the requirements that are currently imposed on the nutrition of a healthy child: the diet should be as balanced as possible in all the most important ingredients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins). Compliance with this condition allows children with diabetes to grow and develop normally. At the same time, a special diet eliminates the carbohydrate load and thus facilitates the course and treatment of diabetes.
In diabetes mellitus, they limit the use of such foods and dishes as bakery products made from wheat flour, potatoes, cereals (semolina, rice). Porridge is given to the child no more than once a day, using coarse grinding cereals (buckwheat, oatmeal, corn) for their preparation.
Rice, semolina and pasta should be used in limited quantities. The consumption of bread should not exceed 100g per day. Vegetables (everything except potatoes) can be offered to the child without restrictions. Moreover, dishes from various vegetables should make up a significant part of the daily diet of children.
Fruits and berries – unsweetened varieties of apples, black currants, cherries, etc. – are also widely included in the diet for diabetes. Occasionally, you can give your child citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines), strawberries, wild strawberries, raspberries. A child can eat fruits raw and in the form of compotes prepared with sugar substitutes.
Fatty, spicy and salty sauces, sweet sauces are excluded from the menu. If the child does not have liver diseases associated with diabetes, it is allowed to add a small amount of onion to food as a seasoning.
It is necessary to feed a child with diabetes 6 times a day and more often. The greatest satisfaction for the child, as a rule, brings his usual food. In view of this, when compiling a diet, the features of the family nutrition stereotype should be taken into account: the hours and volume of each meal, the child's eating habits. The composition of the child's diet should be agreed with the doctor observing the child.
Drug treatment of diabetes in children.
Almost all children with diabetes receive insulin. Thanks to the introduction of long-acting insulin preparations into medical practice, as a rule, one injection of insulin per day is sufficient.
The choice of insulin preparation, its dosage and administration schedule are also determined by the attending physician. Tablets for diabetes (Maninil, Glipizide, etc. ) are quite effective in treating diabetes in adults, but very rarely give good results in children. They are used in mild forms of the disease or prescribed as an adjuvant to reduce the number of injections or the dose of insulin.
Children and adolescents who are regularly treated, adhere to the diet exactly, develop well physically and mentally.
Properly selected and organized therapy with insulin preparations and constant monitoring of the child's condition greatly alleviate the course of the disease and allow children with diabetes to lead a full life.
Material taken from the site: Cherepovets City Maternity Hospital
Diabetes mellitus in children: explain and teach
The diagnosis of "diabetes mellitus" made to a child can cause shock in the first place, not even for the child himself, but for his parents. First reaction: it can't be, it's some kind of mistake. The second - for what? Why exactly did my baby or baby suffer such a fate? . . Some of the parents, not agreeing at first with the “terrible” diagnosis, as it seems to him, are trying to find other methods of treatment, turning to alternative medicine, healers and healers for help. Such behavior will not only not help the child cope with the disease, but can also cause irreparable harm to him.
Since the patient himself, most likely, does not yet understand anything about the disease, with which he will henceforth have to coexist for the rest of his life, the responsibility for how it develops falls on the shoulders of the parents. That is why they must know in detail how to help their child and how to teach him to properly organize his life and take care of his own health.
First symptoms of disease
What symptoms in the behavior and well-being of the child should definitely alert parents?
Feeling of thirst. The child often drinks a lot (instead of a glass of juice or water, he can drink a whole bottle).
Increased urination (including at night).
Despite the presence of a good appetite, the child noticeably loses weight.
Loss of activity, feeling of weakness, desire to lie down even during the day.
In diabetic patients, due to a lack of insulin, glucose remains in the blood “without use”, while the cells of the body, meanwhile, “starve” and, out of hopelessness, begin to use their own body fat as an energy source. That is why weight loss becomes one of the symptoms of diabetes.
In the process of burning in fat cells, a large number of so-called ketone bodies are released into the blood, which eventually begin to be excreted in the urine in the form of acetone. If treatment is not started, the child may develop a condition called "diabetic ketoacidosis" .
The only medicine that can help the child in this situation is insulin injections. Receiving the required daily dose of insulin, your baby will be able to feel good and lead a completely normal life: go to school, and then at the institute, make a career, start a family, raise their own children.
Causes of diabetes in a child
No matter how far modern medicine has stepped, scientists still do not give an exact answer to the question of the causes of diabetes. However, it is reliably known that the risk of developing diabetes can be inherited. At the same time, the closest relatives themselves may be healthy, but have an increased predisposition to this disease and “give” it to their child or grandson. And then childhood infections, viral colds, stress, and other reasons can come into play.
As for the excessive consumption of sweets, there is no scientific evidence that this can lead a child to diabetes. On the other hand, it can accelerate the onset of the disease, so in families where there are patients with diabetes, children are not recommended to eat a lot of sweets.
"Honeymoon" and all life
After the diagnosis is made in the first months of the disease, some children go into remission, which is called the “honeymoon”. This happens because, having received insulin, the pancreas begins to secrete more insulin. Such a remission can last from several weeks to 1-2 years, creating a misleading impression that the disease has been curbed. Unfortunately, over time, the need for insulin always increases.
It happens that parents try to achieve remission by drastically reducing their child's intake of carbohydrates , switching to "special diets" (from raw cereals, nuts, dried fruits). It is absolutely impossible to do this! This is very dangerous for the child's body and in the future can lead to serious consequences.
At the same time, it is possible to achieve a longer remission if you do not overload the pancreas with excess carbohydrates, constantly monitor blood glucose levels, lead an active lifestyle, and play sports. And in no case do not overcool, since any infectious or viral disease can put an end to the "honeymoon".
New way of life
In order for a child to lead a normal life, he must learn the basic rules of self-control: conduct regular tests for glucose in the blood (glycemia), urine (glucosuria), follow a diet and physical activity, and, depending on the circumstances, be able to change the dose of insulin .
The dose of insulin is selected individually for each child. The task of parents is to teach the child to correctly collect the right amount of insulin and to inject correctly.
Glucose control is necessary - this is the only way to determine whether the dose of insulin is sufficient, whether to change it or nutrition before physical activity, during some kind of illness, etc. Competent self-control will allow the child not to feel like a "stranger" in a children's company or among classmates among their own."
In the diet of a child with diabetes, preference should be given to those foods that do not increase blood glucose levels, contain few carbohydrates and a large amount of fiber: these are almost all vegetables and herbs, meat, fish, dairy products, etc. Sweets, of course, better to exclude.
But in no case should you refuse an active lifestyle, playing sports. Having diabetes is not a reason to lie in bed! There are several reasons for going to the gym regularly.
Therapeutic effect: physical exercises lead to a decrease in blood glucose levels and, as a result, to a decrease in the dose of insulin administered.
Physiological effect: the child's flexibility increases, muscle strength and lung capacity increase.
Psychological effect: physical exercises help fight stress, bad mood, increase self-esteem.
Before you start playing sports, you need to consult with your doctor and decide together on the type of physical activity, its duration and intensity. At the same time, self-control remains mandatory, as well as adherence to diet and insulin therapy.
Diabetes is not a disease, but a way of life. This is true, especially when it comes to children. Of course, diabetes imposes certain restrictions on a child's life, but unlike many other, more serious diseases, it does not interfere with the most important thing - to live a full life, study, communicate, play sports, develop and improve oneself.