World Health Day: 6 early signs of diabetes in kids that you should know of

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April 7 is celebrated as World Health Day and the theme for this year is 'Beat Diabetes'. While diabetes is more commonly seen in adults, statistics say that it is also on the rise in kids

April 7 is celebrated as World Health Day and the theme for this year is 'Beat Diabetes'. While diabetes is more commonly seen in adults, statistics say that it is also on the rise in kids.

"Diabetes rarely makes headlines, and yet it will be the world's seventh largest killer by 2030 unless intense and focused efforts are made by governments, communities, and individuals," shared Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia as she spoke to the Times of India.

Diabetes in Kids

While diabetes can be a life-changing disease for anyone, shockingly more and more Indian kids are being diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes every day.

Kids are at risk of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, however, type 1 diabetes is most common, also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes.

"Overall, approximately 80,000 children under 15 years are estimated to develop type 1 diabetes annually worldwide. Childhood onset type 2 Diabetes (the most common type in adults) is also on rise due to rising prevalence of childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyle," says Dr Ganesh Jevalikar, Paediatric endocrinologist, Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Medanta, The Medicity as he spoke to the popular daily.

"At Medanta, amongst a total of 470 cases with diabetes onset below 18 years nearly 85 per cent have type 1 diabetes whereas about 8 per cent children have Type 2 diabetes," he adds.

Type 1 diabetes in kids

Type 1 Diabetes, which is also known as juvenile diabetes, is more commonly seen in kids and can affect any kid above the age of 5. It is a type of diabetes in which the kid’s pancreas can no longer produce insulin required by its body. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Scientists do know that in most people with type 1 diabetes the body's own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.

While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known, one of the main reasons could be the body's own immune system that starts destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Genetics also play a key role and also an exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in kids.

  1. Increased thirst or frequent urination: The most common symptom of diabetes is increased thirst or an urge to pee again and again. This happens because the excess sugar builds up in your kid’s blood, which leads to fluids being pulled from the tissues.
  2. Intense hunger: With a dearth of insulin your kids cells have low glucose your child's muscles and organs become energy depleted, which leads to extreme hunger.
  3. Weight loss: Another sign of juvenile diabetes in kids is unexplained weight loss, even after a healthy diet.
  4. Fatigue: Low sugar could lead to extreme fatigue and
  5. Irritability and Mood swings: Children with Type 1 diabetes are also quite irritable and have frequent mood swings.
  6. Infections: Kids with diabetes are also quite prone to yeast infections or diaper rash.

If you notice that your child has any of the above symptoms, it would be better to take a doctor's consultation so that you can get the right treatment in time.

While it might sound scary, with the right guidance and treatment your child would be able to leave a happy life. Diet and lifestyle also play a key role in fighting diabetes in kids.

Eating more of fibre-containing foods and less of saturated fats would be the key to keeping your child's sugar levels in control. An active lifestyle also helps improve the quality of life of those suffering from diabetes.

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