There is a lot of confusion surround juvenile diabetes (known as type 1) and type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of both of these types of diabetes are very similar but the treatment and cause of this chronic health condition is different.
The symptoms and indications of type 1 diabetes include the following:
- An increase in hunger, urination and thirst
- Weight loss
- Flu like symptoms
- Breath odour is fruity
- Increase in bedwetting if a child had previously been dry at night
It is thought that juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disorder as well as having a possible hereditary link. There is research that suggests juvenile diabetes may be as a result of a virus that attacks the beta cells that are in the pancreas or the patients environment may play a role. Once the beta cells have been destroyed this means insulin cannot be produced.
The main source of fuel for the body is glucose. Insulin transports glucose from the blood stream into the cells but without the presence of insulin the body will starve.
The symptom of increased urination is because the glucose is not able to get to the cells; the glucose levels in the blood become raised. The response of the kidneys is to try and filter out this excess sugar and this causes an increase in urine. This is why a noticeable rise in urinating is one of the most common signs of juvenile diabetes.
Because of the marked increase in urinating this means the patient will feel the urge to drink more as they are becoming thirsty. Also many parents are under the impression that if their child is urinating much more than normal it is because the child is drinking often. This is not the case. Because the child is urinating frequently they require more fluid than they would normally drink.
Children who have juvenile diabetes report feeling hungry and this is because the glucose is not reaching the cells. And because the child is not receiving any glucose from the blood stream into the cells so no insulin is present and because the body is starving the child is trying to supplement this by eating food.
Many people associate gaining weight with diabetes but juvenile diabetes (type 1) is different because children tend to lose weight if the diabetes is left untreated. And as the body is not receiving the glucose it requires to function this can result in a very quick weight loss being experienced.
At present the treatment that is available for juvenile diabetes is an insulin pump or insulin injections. Insulin cannot be given in pill form. Daily (sometimes 4 or more) blood sugar checks have to be carried out and exercise and diet is very important in the treatment of juvenile diabetes.
If you think your child may have juvenile diabetes then make an appointment with the doctor to have this checked. Juvenile diabetes can develop quickly and should not be left untreated. So if you have the slightest concerns make an appointment immediately with your doctor.