Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is predominantly diagnosed in childhood, impacting approximately 120,000 Aussie kids alone. So, what is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes in children is a lifelong autoimmune condition where the body ceases to produce a crucial hormone called insulin. Insulin is essential for facilitating the movement of glucose (sugar) from the blood to vital areas, such as muscles, for energy. So when there's insufficient insulin to transport glucose from the blood to body tissues for energy, it accumulates and spills into urine. Consequently, affected children may exhibit frequent urination and thirst.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of pediatric diabetes is crucial for parents and caregivers. If left unaddressed, the progression of this condition leads to the breakdown of fat stores, resulting in weight loss and an increase in blood acidity. They will experience dehydration, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. This severe state is referred to as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Other pediatric diabetes symptoms
- Extreme or increased thirst
- Frequent Urination (some kids might start wetting the bed)
- Weight loss
- Constant hunger
- Blurred Vision
If your child experiences any of these symptoms and you're uncertain if it could potentially be T1DM, seek help from a doctor immediately. Encourage them to drink sugar-free drinks to prevent dehydration.
Managing diabetes in kids
Treatment involves insulin replacement through insulin injections, as well support and education on day-to-day management of the condition in balancing insulin, food and exercise. Having the support and knowledge empowers parents and children in coping with childhood diabetes. When the condition is managed effectively children are able to maintain a balanced and fulfilling life.
Written on the 7th February 2024 by Nicole, a Paediatric Emergency Nurse and new mum.
As always, information on this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult your GP for information specific to your child.