Juvenile diabetes is still a bit of a mystery. We aren’t sure what exactly causes it. Nonetheless, science has come a long way when it comes to understanding diabetes.
Previously it was thought that children could only have type 1 diabetes which is when the body is unable to produce insulin. In fact, type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes. Now it is known children can have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is either the result of the body’s cells no longer responding to insulin or too little insulin being produced.
Even though we don’t know the exact causes of diabetes, several risk factors have been determined.
Family History of Diabetes
If your family has diabetes you’re more likely to get it. Yet, there are cases where one twin has diabetes and the other doesn’t. So genetics alone don’t determine whether you will get diabetes.
For children, the odds of getting diabetes more than double if they’re overweight. Developing healthier eating patterns and exercising regularly will help children get healthier and lower their odds of developing diabetes.
Sex and Ethnicity
Women are more likely than men to develop type 2 diabetes. In the United States, African Americans, Mexican Americans and American Indians have the greatest risk of developing diabetes.
One of the scary things about diabetes is that it often goes undiagnosed, leading to serious health issues. Here are the symptoms to watch for in your children, especially if they are overweight or if your family has a history of diabetes.
Unexplained Weight Loss
This may seem counterintuitive as being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes. But without the help of insulin to move sugar around one’s body, the body will deplete its current muscle and fat to give it the energy it needs, causing unexplained weight loss.
Without the energy from sugar a child will get hungry much easier, even after just having eaten.
Because the child’s body can no longer absorb sugars, it’s forced to get rid of the excess sugar. How? It flushes the sugars out by greatly increasing urine production. For this reason, diabetics may have to urinate more frequently and with greater urgency. Increased urine production uses up your body’s water, leading to dehydration and extreme thirst.
Increased urine production can also lead to bedwetting. If your child wets the bed, don’t freak out too much. About 20% of children continue to wet the bed after age five. However, if your child stopped bedwetting a long time ago and has suddenly started again this may be a sign of a medical condition.
Sugar gives you a quick burst of energy. Without it, children can become lethargic and overly tired.
Now that the child’s body can’t absorb sugar, the sugar in their blood will build up. This causes high blood sugar levels, which the body then tries to combat by pulling fluid from tissues. Those tissues include the lenses of your child’s eyes. If the lenses lose their fluid your child won’t be able to see clearly.
Numbness in Feet or Hands
Diabetes causes nerve damage, especially in one’s extremities such as their feet or hands. If your child’s feet or hands start to go numb or feel a “tingling” sensation, it can be a serious sign.
Fortunately, with today’s technology diabetes is a very manageable condition. Though they may not be able to eat anything they want, children with diabetes can still experience all the joys in life their peers do. Doctors can prescribe the proper medication and tools for monitoring one’s blood sugar. And with careful diet and exercise diabetic children can lead a healthier and happier life.
Author Bio: Austin Sheeley writes for bedwettingstore.com, the internet’s number one resource for tips, information and supplies to help your child overcome bedwetting. Austin writes about the many causes of bedwetting including diabetes.