Diabetes in children: first symptoms and prevention

Diabetes in children: first symptoms and prevention

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Diabetes in children type 1 develops insidiously and is rarely diagnosed at an early stage. It often goes unnoticed until it brings symptoms that can no longer be ignored. Although it has been known for centuries, it still has many secrets. One thing is for sure: diabetes in children is being diagnosed more and more often, in the last 25 years, the number of children who fell ill has increased fourfold. The incidence rate is constantly increasing, and research to answer the question - who is most at risk, how to prevent type 1 diabetes, and how to best treat it - is ongoing.

Diabetes in children type 1 - chronic autoimmune disease

Diabetes in children can develop in two forms - as type 1 diabetes (most often) and as type 2 diabetes (less often, resulting from poor diet, obesity, neglect).

Type 1 diabetes is autoimmune disease genetically determined, as a result of which the cells of the immune system attack the pancreas, destroying insulin-producing beta cells. Unfortunately, without this hormone, carbohydrates cannot be converted into energy, which is why a sick person needs to get insulin from outside, monitoring the need for it, taking into account the amount and type of meal consumed.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, nand the development of type 1 diabetes is not affected by lifestyle. However, it has been proven that by regulating external factors, the disease can be delayed and slowed down.

Will your child get type 1 diabetes? The role of autoantibodies

Scientists have found after testing 13,000 children from Colorado, Finland and Germany that the risk of developing type 1 diabetes is greater in children with specific genes, or actually autoantibodies. If your child has two of them, it is usually a matter of time before you get diabetes.

In other words the disease is genetichowever, environmental factors decide if and when the disease will become active.

Type 1 diabetes in 43% of cases is diagnosed in children up to 5 years of age, in 70% of cases up to 10 years of age, in 84% after 15 years of age. It has also been shown that type 1 diabetes develops statistically faster in girls than boys.

Diabetes in children symptoms

When observing a child, it is worth paying attention to all the symptoms that were not there before,

  • very frequent urination,
  • peeing more than once during the night
  • thirst, drinking another drink again and again,
  • wetting - especially if it hasn't happened before,
  • tiredness, daytime sleepiness,
  • fatigue especially after a carbohydrate-rich meal,
  • reluctance to walk for longer,
  • weight loss,
  • constipation,
  • recurrent infections
  • bad breath,
  • lack of appetite or uncontrollable hunger
  • irritability, aggression,
  • very dry skin on elbows, knees,
  • stomach ache, nausea.

Ways to prevent diabetes in children

Although doctors and scientists do not yet know the method of preventing the development of type 1 diabetes, there are no known methods of action that will 100% block the risk of developing the disease, but we still know about delaying the onset of symptoms.

According to specialists, it can be helpful:

  • long breast feeding
  • giving vitamin D to a child,
  • proper nutrition of children in the first year of life: scientists from the University of Colorado in Aurora published their conclusions in "JAMA Pediatrics". They report that too early (before the fourth month of life) and too late (in the sixth month of life! Or later) diet expansion increases the development of the disease in people genetically predisposed to diabetes by 97 and 202 percent, respectively. Equally important, breastfeeding while extending your diet significantly reduces your risk of developing diabetes. Conclusions? According to the researchers, the safest time to introduce new ingredients into a child's diet is between 4 and 5 months of age, of course in combination with breastfeeding. Due to the child's age, of course, the suggested portions should be small,
  • controlling the weight of the child - researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo have found that children who are born small and gain weight very quickly in the first year of life are more likely to develop diabetes than slower-growing peers,
  • skillful coping with stress - high stress, traumatic survival increases the risk of developing diabetes in children by three times (which can be read in the journal Diabetologia)
  • infection avoidance, good treatment - the factor that can initiate the development of the disease is infection.

The development of type 1 diabetes is more likely if complications occur during labor. Complications increase the risk of getting as much as 93%.

In addition, the risk increases if the baby is born prematurely, the mother of the child has diabetes herself.

Smoking is a negative factor, as is the high weight of a woman If the expectant mother in pregnancy (already in the first trimester) is obese, her child's risk of developing diabetes increases dramatically.