‘The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown. There is no defined set of population to be considered at risk. However, research indicates that people who have a pool of autoantibodies in their body are at a higher risk of developing it,
Diabetes is higher in:
- Children who have both the parents suffering from diabetes
- Children who have mothers with a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Children who have suffered an infection of the pancreas
- Children who have suffered trauma or injury of the pancreas
Doctor says ‘Diabetes is catastrophic disease. So, there are no definitive early symptoms or signs. In fact, most of the patients end up directly in the hospital where they are diagnosed with the condition.’ However, he mentions the following as indicative symptoms of the condition:
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination or the onset of bed-wetting
- Recurring infections
- Fatigue and irritability
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Apart from these higlights a few more symptoms of type 1 diabetes
- Increased appetite compared to other children of the same age group
- Persistently weak appearance
- Visual problems
- Wounds, cuts or boils that do not heal quickly
Eight out of ten individuals with type 1 diabetes that I have come across have to be admitted to the ICU setting due to diabetic coma resulting from dangerously high blood sugar levels. It’s only the blood and urine test that reveal the condition for the doctor and the family,’ says Doctor.
‘In case the parents are watchful about the symptoms and get their child for a checkup, then a medical history followed by a fasting and post-prandial blood glucose test is done. If both the results for blood test show high glucose then type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. Besides, the presence of ketones in the urine is also indicative of the condition,’ says Doctor.
‘Right now, the mainstay for the treatment of the disease is insulin injections. A basal bolus regimen, where a specific dose of insulin is administered after every meal to control sugar levels throughout the day is usually a preferred option by parents.
Alternatively, a single dose of insulin can be administered once in a day to control the sugar throughout. An insulin pump that delivers a specified dose of insulin at a fixed time is another option. But it is too costly (about 5-7 lakh), so not everyone can afford it,’ explains Doctor.
As the exact cause is unknown, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. According to Doctor however, parents at high risk of having a child with the disease can reduce these risks a bit by evaluating their history and by modifying their lifestyle to some extent.
Doctor offers some tips for parents to manage the condition in their children. As children cannot handle themselves, parents should be extra careful about them.
Type 1 diabetes is a sensitive disease, so parents should be cautious about hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) and hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) because the sugar levels can keep fluctuating drastically.
Regular follow up with the doctor is a must. With type 1 diabetes, the risk of eye and kidney complications is much greater, so be careful about the overall health of your child.
Specific diet medication is not required but a specified amount of carbohydrate should be included in their diet. Your doctor will guide you with carbohydrate counting and diet restrictions for your child.
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