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Diabetes Mellitus: How Diabetes is Affecting Our Kids

The graph of diabetes mellitus is rising steadily as a result of unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and hereditary factors.

What is Diabetes Mellitus in Children
Diabetes, known for its slow death phenomenon, has not spared even our kids. An increasing number of children are affected by the syndrome due to unhealthy eating habits and inactive lifestyle. Also known as juvenile diabetes, diabetes mellitus makes children dependent on insulin doses, as their pancreas are not able to synthesize insulin - key to converting glucose into energy. If we go by the American Diabetes Association statistics, five of every 3,000 kids in the United State are suffering from diabetes mellitus. The disease affects more children from African American, American Indian, Asians, and Hispanics.

Diabetes Mellitus in Children
In children, the most common cause of type 1 diabetes is the destruction of pancreatic cells, which is the result of lifestyle and nutritional changes. A chronic metabolic disorder, diabetes mellitus begins at a tender age of 6-7 years, primarily affecting children with genetic predisposition.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is the result of obesity and insulin resistance. Type 1 diabetes is more common than type 2 diabetes mellitus in the US; however, the incidence of T2DM is increasing at a rapid pace with the increased number of obesity cases. It is expected that T2DM cases will exceed T1DM in 10 years. 

Obesity or excess fat interferes with the body's metabolism, thus affecting its ability to regulate blood suagr.

Diabetes Mellitus in Children: Symptoms 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst: The accumulation of glucose in blood dehydrates the body, leading to a feeling of thirst. As a result, kids develop a tendency to drink more fluids.
  • Polyuria: As with diabetic adults, even kids with diabetes urinate more often due to the intake of more fluids because of dehydration.
  • Polyphagia or increased appetite: Children experience a feeling of excessive hunger caused by energy insufficiency due to the lack of insulin.
  • Sudden weight loss: Children may unexpectedly lose weight in spite of a good appetite, as their cells are not able to store energy. Moreover, there is lack of formation of fat or muscle mass.
  • Ketones: Children suffering from high blood glucose also experience high level of ketones in urine.
  • Weakness and irritability: Diabetic kids experience fatigue and tiredness more often due to lack of energy.
  • Fruity breath: Children with diabetes mellitus experience fruity smell in breath due to an increased number of ketones in their body, which burns fat for energy in place of sugar because of lack of insulin production.
  • Unconsciousness: The severe shortage of sugar in brain cells may make the affected kids prone to frequent spells of unconsciousness.

Prevention & Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus
Timely recognition of diabetes mellitus symptoms is the key to early diagnosis of the disease and timely treatment. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure their kids are served a healthy diet on the dining table. They should inculcate the habit of healthy eating in children. A diet rich in fiber is particularly good for diabetes. 

Insulin doses must be administered to patients experiencing excessively high glucose levels, which will act instantly to lower blood sugar. Regular monitoring of glucose levels is crucial to preventing any future complications. 

Children should be made aware of

  • the dangers of unhealthy eating habits
  • the repercussions of an inactive lifestyle
  • the importance of healthy food habits
  • the need to eliminate obesity
A blend of healthy eating habits and active lifestyle is the key to keeping blood sugar levels under control. So teach your kids to stay active. Why not ask them to walk to their friend’s place or cycle to school in order to burn calories? 

Comments

  1. I'm also under the notion that trauma and stress is a cause of juvenile diabetes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz for your message. Stress is a direct or indirect cause for many disorders today.

      Delete
  2. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear Ritu. It's important to spread the word about diabetes. Awareness is crucial.

      Delete

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