Diabetes Mellitus. What is it and how does it affect children

Diabetes Mellitus. What is it and how does it affect children

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The Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus it is a chronic disease, which in many cases appears in children or young adults. It is a pathology of an autoimmune nature, that is, the body produces antibodies against the pancreas, as if it believed that it was something foreign to it, it attacked and destroyed it.

Unlike type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, the latter usually occurs in older people and generally overweight or obese.

This production of antibodies is not very well understood why it is triggered. It seems to be very related to some kind of infection, probably viral, and from there, and together with a genetic predisposition of the individual, the pancreas begins to destroy itself.

In the early stages of this destruction, blood sugar may be normal, but as pancreatic destruction progresses, the insulin reserve decreases and in certain situations, for example under stress, or after some medications, blood glucose (the blood sugar) may be high.

Later, when there is hardly any insulin, the symptoms of diabetes are very clear: the child has polyuria (urinates a lot), polydipsia (drinks a lot), polyphagia (is hungry and eats a lot), and has weight loss and fatigue (asthenia). This is what is called the 'diabetic debut'.

In this phase if no treatment is given (insulin, fluid therapy), dehydration and metabolic acidosis can be very serious and sometimes it requires admission to an Intensive Care unit, where the patient will constantly have to be analyzed and the fluid therapy and medication changed very quickly to improve metabolic control.

Once this critical phase of the 'diabetic debut' is over, the child usually stays in the hospital for a few days, about a week.

During this time the nurses, diabetes educators and pediatric endocrinologists will gradually teach the techniques that the child and parents will have to perform later at home: carrying out blood glucose tests, insulin injections, adjusting the rations and insulin according to the exercise you do, what to do in the event of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), what to do in the event of hypoglycemia (high blood sugar), what to do in the event of vomiting or other intercurrent illness.

Treatment, already for life, chronically, is insulin that is injected subcutaneously, but it must also be supported by exercise and an adequate intake of carbohydrates.

The diabetic child has to avoid the intake of refined sugars (pastries, chocolate, sweets ...) but he can eat everything else, and he must eat as healthy a diet as possible.

Childhood diabetes is a very hard disease for children and their families, but with good management of insulin and diet, the patient can be happy and live 'with diabetes but not diabetes'.

You can read more articles similar to Diabetes Mellitus. What is it and how does it affect children, in the Diabetes category on site.

Video: Diabetes in children 9 of 9: Nutrition and Exercise (July 2022).


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