What You Should Know About Childhood Diabetes

 

By John Irwin, MD, MedStar Harbor Pediatrics

Every year, thousands of children and young adults are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, also known as type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from producing insulin, a hormone you need in order to survive.

It’s important for parents to know the signs and symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes, and take their child to see a physician, if these conditions persist. Some of the most common early indicators include:

John F. Irwin, MD

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained or rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability/mood swings
  • "Fruity" breath or odor
  • Blurred visition or inability to focus
  • Repeated yeast infections (girls)

Learning that a child has diabetes can be devastating. However, know that the doctor will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will emphasize health, wellness and the ability to selfmanage the condition, so your child can live a long, healthy life.

If your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, several medications may be prescribed to control and manage the condition.

You will be taught how and when to measure blood glucose levels and urine ketones, how to document them, and what to do if your child has a low blood glucose reaction.

Balanced, nutritious meals will become increasingly important in your household. And, most doctors will also suggest that you spend some time talking with your child about short and long-term goals. This is important, as it helps you understand what your child values most.

Then you can determine what steps can be taken to assure your child can achieve those goals, despite the disease.

We are happy to consult with you to answer any questions you may have, provide education and resources, and point you in the right direction, if your child needs specialty diabetic care and treatment.

If you have concerns about childhood diabetes, or feel that your child may be at increased risk, take some time to talk with your existing pediatrician or call MedStar Harbor Pediatrics at 410-350-2253.