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Type 1 Diabetes in Children - Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

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Type 1 Diabetes in Children – Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

In the condition of type 1 diabetes in children, the body fails to produce one of the most important hormones, namely insulin.

The primary function of this insulin hormone is to transport the glucose that is produced after the food breakdown to liver, muscle and fat cells to provide the energy to function properly. In the absence of insulin hormone, the amount of glucose keeps increasing in blood and causes increased blood sugar levels that are quite dangerous.

We, human beings, including children need insulin to survive and therefore you’ll have to provide insulin from external sources. Initially, type 1 diabetes in children was called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes.

As type 1 diabetes in children or (in anyone for that matter) can be overwhelming as soon as it’s diagnosed, the person must learn to inject insulin into their body, keep a count of carbohydrates consumed every day, and carefully monitor the blood sugar levels.

Needless to say, type 1 diabetes when diagnosed in children requires consistent care. However, keeping a strict eye on the blood sugar levels and daily carbohydrate intake can result in improved management of the overall condition.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children

Well, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in children usually develop quickly and are pretty evident within a few weeks. The following are the common symptoms that you may notice:

  • Increased thirst followed by frequent urination

Excess sugar when builds up in the bloodstream of your child pulls out fluid from his/her tissues. Consequently, your child experiences increased thirst and has to go for urination more than usual. Sometimes, a young child who is toilet-trained might experience bed-wetting, especially at night.

  • Increased appetite

When your child’s body lacks insulin to transport sugar from the bloodstream to cells, he/she will experience weak muscles and lack of energy, which further induces a feeling of extreme hunger.

  • Sudden weight loss

It has been observed that type 1 diabetes in children leads to significant weight loss in spite of eating much more than regular meals to satisfy hunger. This could be due to the absence of energy supplies, which leads to shrinking of muscle tissues as well as of fat stores. Needless to say, sudden weight loss is one of the common signs of type 1 diabetes that is noticeable in children.

  • Fatigue

When your child’s body lacks sugar or energy in his/her cells, one common issue they experience is lethargic or no energy in the body.

  • Blurred vision

Another common problem that your child may experience is blurred vision, as when the blood sugar goes too high, fluid is highly likely to be pulled away from the lenses of his/her eyes. This further leads to a reduced ability to focus clearly.

When do you need to see a doctor?

In case you notice your child experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you must visit your child’s doctor without any delay.

Causes of type 1 diabetes in children

While the exact cause of developing type 1 diabetes in children is unknown, the immune system of the body mistakenly starts attacking the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas as observed in most people with type 1 diabetes. Generally, the human immune system is to fight the viruses and bacteria that are harmful.

And, as mentioned above, the primary function of insulin is to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the body’s cells, which is to provide them with the energy. The moment these insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed, there remains little to no insulin to do the job.

Consequently, the amount of glucose keeps increasing in your child’s bloodstream, which can further cause life-threatening complications.

Risk factors associated with type 1 diabetes in children

The following are the risk factors associated with type 1 diabetes in children:

  • Family history

If you or your spouse has type 1 diabetes, your children are at a high risk of developing this life-threatening disease in the future.

  • Genetic susceptibility

People with certain gene structures are often seen to develop or at risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

  • Race

Among other races, non-Hispanic white children quite commonly develop type 1 diabetes.

Prevention of type 1 diabetes in children

Well, as of now, there’s no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes in children.

Researchers around the globe are working on finding ways to prevent type 1 diabetes in people, especially those who are at a higher risk of developing this disease.


When it comes to doing something to avoid type 1 diabetes development in children, there is nothing you can do. All you can do is keep an eye on your child’s daily carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels.



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