Childhood diabetes symptoms typically start because the pancreas is not functioning properly. The pancreas produces the insulin hormone, which is used by the body to metabolize blood sugar. When the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, blood sugar increases (hyperglycemia), which causes type 1 diabetes mellitus (aka juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes).

Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children. At one time, type 2 diabetes was also known as adult onset diabetes. However, the obesity epidemic in children is becoming more and more prevalent. This is leading to increased type 2 diabetes mellitus in children. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. The pancreas produces insulin, but the body is unable to properly use the hormone to metabolize blood sugar.

The symptoms for childhood diabetes can come on quickly and be fairly obvious. However, the symptoms of childhood diabetes can also appear slowly and mask other conditions, such as dehydration or heat exhaustion.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Diabetes?


Childhood diabetes signs and symptoms can include frequent urination, sleepiness, increased hunger, and moodiness. These symptoms can mask other conditions, especially in young children. These are the most common symptoms of diabetes. However, these symptoms can also be caused by teething, a growth spurt, or even a virus.

Other potential diabetes symptoms to watch for in children are difficulty gaining weight, weight loss, skin rashes, blotchy or itchy skin, vision changes, symptoms in the extremities (tingling or pain); and sores, abrasions or cuts that do not heal quickly or well.


Diagnosing Childhood Diabetes


If you suspect that your child is suffering from childhood diabetes symptoms, contact your pediatrician to discuss the symptoms immediately. Your pediatrician will probably schedule a couple of quick and easy tests that will screen your child for diabetes.

A urine test and blood test are usually necessary for initial screening and diagnosis. If you child is diagnosed with diabetes, your pediatrician will recommend initial treatment. Your pediatrician may also refer your child to a pediatric diabetes specialist for additional tests and a long term treatment plan.


Treatment Options for Childhood Diabetes


Treatments vary depending on the type of diabetes your child has been diagnosed with. Type 1 diabetes usually requires insulin injections several times per day, along with blood sugar monitoring and diet modifications. Type 2 diabetes can usually be controlled with diet, exercise and oral medications. There are also herbs that can help with diabetes.

It is important to follow the recommendations of your child’s pediatrician regarding treatment. If you are interested in learning more about other treatment options, consult with a diabetes specialist or a naturopathic physician. They can help guide you toward a treatment plan that will help your child stay healthy and well.


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