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Diabetes in Children

Type 1 diabetes in children is a condition in which your child's body no longer produces an important hormone (insulin). Your child needs insulin to survive, so you'll have to replace the missing insulin. Type 1 diabetes in children used to be known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.

The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children can be overwhelming at first. Suddenly you and your child — depending on his or her age — must learn how to give injections, count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes in children requires consistent care. But advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the daily management of the condition

Symptoms

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in your child's bloodstream pulls fluid from tissues. As a result your child might be thirsty — and drink and urinate more than usual. A young, toilet-trained child might suddenly experience bed-wetting.
  • Extreme hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your child's cells, your child's muscles and organs lack energy. This triggers intense hunger.
  • Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, your child may lose weight — sometimes rapidly. Without the energy sugar supplies, muscle tissues and fat stores simply shrink. Unexplained weight loss is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes to be noticed in children.
  • Fatigue. Lack of sugar in your child's cells might make him or her tired and lethargic.
  • Irritability or behavior changes. In addition to mood problems, your child might suddenly have a decline in performance at school.
  • Fruity-smelling breath. Burning fat instead of sugar produces certain substances (ketones) that can cause a fruity breath odor.
  • Blurred vision. If your child's blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your child's eyes. Your child might be unable to focus clearly.
  • Yeast infection. Girls with type 1 diabetes may have a genital yeast infections. Babies can develop diaper rashes caused by yeast.