Could Your Child Have Diabetes?


Sugar is the fuel of the body. Our cells use it to make the energy that moves our muscles and powers our other organs. In order to move sugar into each cell, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that allows the glucose molecule to enter a cell and be converted to energy. Type 1 diabetes mellitus, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes , occurs when the body does not make enough insulin. Without this essential hormone, the sugar from the food your child eats cannot enter the cells and remains in the blood, resulting in dangerously high blood glucose levels. Over time, this can result in severe damage to his or her heart, eyes, nerves, and almost every other part of the body.

Caused by an auto-immune attack on the pancreas, this disease usually arises around the age of four and reaches its peak at the ages of 11 to 13. Type 1 diabetes is more common in males than in females and is more often seen in children that experienced obesity during childhood. The symptoms that are typically seen in a child with diabetes include:

  • Irritability
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst (can be extreme)
  • Excessive hunger
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches

Unfortunately, the pancreatic cells can be destroyed so quickly that ketoacidosis may be the first sign of diabetes in your child. Vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration, drowsiness, abnormally deep and fast breathing, dry skin and mouth, fruity breath odor, rapid pulse, or coma can all be signs of ketoacidosis.

If you notice any of the signs of diabetes in yourself or your child, consider consulting your physician. To learn more about how a diabetes diagnosis can affect your family, let Sunrise Children’s Hospital help. Our experienced professionals provide diabetes education and nutritional services for children living with the condition. Learn more about our hospital and its amenities by contacting us at (702) 731-5437 or visiting our website.

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