Diabetes in children: causes, symptoms and treatment

Type 1 and type 2: diabetes mellitus to distinguish

First of all, when it comes to discussing childhood diabetes, it is important to remember that there are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, which are actually Two fundamentally different diseases That share the name only.

Type 1 diabetes results, which is what interests us herehormonal deficiency It occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. In other words, the pancreas is no longer able to secrete insulin. talking about The diabetes which is depending on the insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is a consequence of Insulin resistance. This is why we talk so oftenInsulin resistance.

Either way, these insulin problems result Increase diabetes level in the bloodIn other words, there is excess sugar in the blood. The phenomenon is not without danger to the organism.

In addition, if type 2 diabetes develops with age, in the case of severe obesity and / or due to genetic background, Type 1 diabetes often occurs in childhood or early adulthood. There is no genetic component: 9 times out of 10, type 1 diabetes occurs in a family that has not been affected by the disease”, points to Dr. Marc de Cardanet, a pediatrician with diabetes at the University Hospital of Rennes and president of the Association for Helping Young People with Diabetics (AJD).

Type 1 diabetes is Chronic autoimmune diseases : The immune system attacks insulin-producing cells (more precisely, the β-cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas) erroneously.

Signs and symptoms to be aware of

It can be difficult to spot the signs and symptoms that should warrant a consultation, especially in infants.

First, a child with diabetes will:

  • Urinating frequently. talking about frequent urination, with heavier and/or wet diapers more quickly, or more toilet visits in a clean baby.
  • To wet the bed or return it. We are talking aboutnocturnal enuresis.
  • owns Often thirstydue to water loss or even dehydration.

In the second step, subsequent tags will likely appear, such asWeight loss and fatigue.

These symptoms are explained simply by a chain reaction. When hyperglycemia becomes significant and permanent, glucose appears in the urine (usually, we have no glucose in the urine): talking about glucosuria. When this by itself becomes too important (several hundreds of grams per day), the kidneys have to get rid of a lot of water to dilute the glucose in the urine. As a result, the child urinates more and more often. He becomes dehydrated, which leads to extreme thirst, weight loss and fatigue.

Complications if diagnosis and treatment are delayed

If treatment is not given immediately, an increase in blood acidity may occur due to the alternative use of fats. We are talking aboutketoacidosis. Symptoms of ketoacidosis include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and rapid breathing. Obviously it’s aboutVital emergency, which can lead to coma, ketoacidosis or even death.

From what age can you get diabetes?

Keep in mind that type 1 diabetes occurs suddenly and only occasionally in a child’s life. It’s not something that settles down bit by bit.

Type 1 diabetes, according to Dr. de Cardanet It occurs on average around age 8 But it can be authorized from the age of six months.

Juvenile diabetes: various possible causes

Unfortunately, the autoimmune reaction that occurs in type 1 diabetes remains a mystery. Several hypotheses have been advanced. There can be a file genetic predisposition, but this does not explain all cases, because it often happens that the child, without his relatives, is affected by this diabetes. But this would only be a “genetic ground”, and not a systemic transmission of the disease.

also talking about Environmental reasons : Previous viral infection, air pollution, or even food mentioned without certainty. But beware of the shortcuts, type 1 diabetes cannot be detected after a single viral infection.

An alarming increase in the number of cases

It is currently estimated that 18-19 out of every 100,000 children are newly affected by type 1 diabetes in France, according to Dr. de Kerdanet. ” The number of new cases per year, i.e. the incidence of type 1 diabetes, She has a very large increaseso disturbing” We regret the 3 to 4.5% increase in the number of new cases of type 1 diabetes per year in France (against +2.2% for type 2 diabetes). The reasons for this development are still unknown, even if various environmental factors (pollution, viruses, food) are mentioned.

First of all, the general practitioner or pediatrician, faced with the warning signs of type 1 diabetes, should think about this disease and take the first necessary tests.

The health care professional can then do the following:

  • be one blood sugar check Via a blood sample from a finger or ear, coupled with a blood glucose meter;
  • This is Urine test using a dipstick, to measure the presence of sugar in the urine (glycosuria).

Ideally, these first tests should be done quickly, without going through the lab, to save time. If the result confirms abnormal levels of blood sugar, the child Immediately indicated in pediatric emergency To confirm the diagnosis and start treatment without delay.

Then prescribe a diabetologist, or a diabetic pediatrician Full Initial Evaluation, who understands:

  • a blood test, with a special dose of glycated hemoglobin, that is, the fraction of hemoglobin that stabilizes the sugar in the blood;
  • An autoimmune test, which looks for the presence of autoantibodies directed against cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin.

Other analyzes and examinations can be added, especially with the idea of ​​u200bu200bdiagnosing comorbidities (autoimmune thyroiditis, celiac disease, etc.).

What is the treatment?

Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes is not a panacea for everyone. However, one can live almost normally with this chronic disease.

Treatment aims Control of blood sugar is based on Insulin management To compensate for the destruction of the cells that produce them. It is ‘lifelong careHence the importance of the child learning to manage his disease on his own.

Insulin cannot be taken orally, as it is destroyed by digestion, which is usually why By subcutaneous injection. This injection can be done with an injection pen, or in a more permanent way by fitting a Insulin pump Equipped with a catheter.

The choice of the type of insulin to be injected, the frequency of injection or the dose to be injected depends on several factors that will be evaluated by the medical team and adapted to the child’s condition. These parameters may change over the course of the patient’s life, for optimal glycemic control.

How are the costs associated with this disease covered?

Type 1 diabetes is defined as a long-term condition (Ald). As such, all examinations and care related to this disease are covered at 100% (within the limits of health insurance rates).

Unfortunately, so far, there are no things to do or not do in the hope of preventing the onset of type 1 diabetes in children, as it is an autoimmune disease for unknown reasons. In other words, There is nothing to feel guilty about suffix Once diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in a child. It should also be noted that gestational diabetes is not currently associated with an increased risk of diabetes in the fetus.

On the other hand, a healthy and active lifestyle, with a varied and balanced diet, makes this possible Reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which can go hand in hand.

Information, support, mutual assistance and advice: who to contact?

Once diagnosed with diabetes, the child and their family are often cared for by Children’s sugar department from the nearest hospital. There, medical teams that specialize in managing the disease in general provide parents with tools and resources to learn how to deal with this new situation.

There is also a mutual aid association, Helping Young People with Diabetes (AJD)which, in addition to the information it provides in handouts or on its website, provides care and education during the school holidays.

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