If you have a family history of type 1 diabetes, your child's chance of having it is higher. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes, is not preventable. Therefore, early detection and treatment can help keep your child healthy. Continue reading to learn more about type 1 diabetes, how it differs from type 2 diabetes, and signs that your child may have this condition.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is frequently referred to as insulin-depended diabetes. The pancreas' insulin-producing cells are destroyed. Therefore, children with this condition cannot produce any insulin. Without insulin, their bodies cannot move glucose into the cells. Instead, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar damages blood vessels and vital organs.
Why Does Type 1 Diabetes Happen?
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still mostly unknown, but genetics are a factor. However, doctors suspect that the body's own immune system is the cause. The immune system mistakenly attacks the pancreas' islet cells. Some sources also say that the child must have a second trigger, like a virus, to get the disease. Lifestyle is not a factor with type 1 diabetes.
How Are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Different?
Both types of diabetes have similar symptoms due to high blood sugar. However, unlike type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes still produce some insulin. Type 2 diabetes also has a genetic component but is often caused by lifestyle issues like obesity. Many people with type 2 diabetes can slow down or reverse their condition with diet and exercise changes. However, that is not possible with type 1 diabetes.
What Are Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms?
Type 1 diabetes symptoms are similar to type 2 diabetes. Your child may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Extreme thirst
- Unusual moodiness
- Losing weight without effort
- A high amount of hunger
Doctors can diagnose children with type 1 diabetes at almost any age, including into adulthood. Common ages for diagnosis are usually around the time they enter grade school or in their teen years. Antibody tests may catch type 1 diabetes before symptoms occur. However, even if your child has the antibodies, it doesn't mean they will develop diabetes.
If your child shows signs of type 1 diabetes, visit a pediatrician for testing and diagnosis. Do not wait as this condition will not get better and can be life-threatening if ignored. If your child has diabetes, help them maintain a healthy blood sugar level and keep up with their doctor's visits.