The risk of developing type 1 diabetes is higher than virtually all other severe chronic diseases of childhood.
Peak incidence occurs during puberty, around 10 to 12 years of age in girls, and around 12 to 14 years of age in boys.
The symptoms for type 1 diabetes can resemble the flu in children.
Type 1 diabetes tends to run in families. Brothers and sisters of children with type 1 diabetes have about a 10 percent chance of developing the disease by age 50.
The identical twin of a person with type 1 diabetes has a 25 to 50 percent chance of developing type 1 diabetes.
The most common type of diabetes in children is type 1 diabetes. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the U.S.
Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including:
There are two forms of type 1 diabetes:
Immune-mediated diabetes is the most common form of type 1 diabetes and is generally referred to as type 1 diabetes.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. However, it is believed that people inherit a tendency to develop diabetes, and that some outside trigger may be involved. Type 1 diabetes is the result of the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide fuel. This is the result of an autoimmune process in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
When glucose cannot enter the cells, it builds up in the blood, depriving the cells of nutrition. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly. In children, type 1 diabetes symptoms may resemble flu symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms for type 1 diabetes. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, common symptoms may include:
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
Type 1 diabetes may cause the following:
Complications that may result from type 1 diabetes include:
Children with type 1 diabetes must have daily injections of insulin to keep the blood sugar level within normal ranges. Specific treatment for type 1 diabetes will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
Treatment may include:
Depending on your child's age, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis can be devastating. The younger child may not quite understand all the life changes that may occur because of the diagnosis, such as glucose monitoring and insulin injections. After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, children may feel:
Although a child who is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes requires supervised medical care, a parent should avoid being overprotective. Through parental encouragement, self-care of the diabetes by the child, starting at the appropriate age, will foster improved self-esteem and independence.
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Online Resources of Diabetes & Other Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders