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Diabetes in children

Posted on 12 November 2010 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

14th November every year is World Diabetes Day, a globally-celebrated event to increase awareness of diabetes. This date is chosen because it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin with Charles Best in 1922.

Insulin is a hormone, produced in the pancreas, which in diabetes is either not produced in enough quantities or the body isn’t able to use properly. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, and insulin helps this glucose in the blood get into the cells of the body where it is converted into energy. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood build up and this can cause all sorts of problems.

The most common type of diabetes in children is ‘Type 1 diabetes’ and this needs to be treated with daily insulin injections and a carefully controlled diet in order to bring blood glucose levels within a healthy range. This type of diabetes cannot be cured and the exact cause remains a mystery. Thankfully, diabetes in children is a relatively uncommon disease, but the overall incidence of diabetes amongst children is rising. In recent years there has been the emergence of children suffering from another form of diabetes known as ‘Type 2 diabetes’, which is associated with increased levels of obesity and unhealthy diets. This form of the disease can usually be treated with lifestyle changes, including a healthier diet and more exercise. 

Early warning symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include thirst, tiredness, weight loss, stomach aches and frequent urination. Diagnosis will be followed up with specialist care by specifically trained medical staff and a specialist dietitian. Diabetic children can eat exactly the same food as non-diabetics, but it is essential the diet is balanced and healthy, and particular care must be taken to balance the amounts of carbohydrate in the diet with the insulin injections the child receives. Exercise also plays an important role in all children with diabetes.

Of course, this isn’t the time or place to go into more details about the specific details of raising a child with diabetes, but if you’re interested in finding out more why not visit the following links:

http://www.diabetes.co.uk/children-and-diabetes.html
http://www.diabetes.co.uk/Keeping-your-kids-free-from-diabetes.html

Bye for now,

Helen

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Categories: Baby development

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