Sugar Diabetes in Children
by Rebecca Johnson
Sugar diabetes is an outdated term that refers to either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetics no longer produce insulin, which is necessary for survival. Type 2 diabetics become insulin resistant. Type 1 diabetes is the most common in children, with type 2 diabetes being more common in adults.
Type 1 Diabetes and Children
Overall, type 1 diabetics make up 10 percent of the diabetic population. While it is the least common form of diabetes, it is the most common among children. In type 1 diabetes, the body's pancreas can no longer produce insulin. Insulin is required to deliver glucose (sugar) to a child's muscles and organs. Without the needed glucose, the body goes in diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough glucose to us as fuel. While there is nothing that can prevent type 1 diabetes, it can be managed.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often manifest quickly. It is extremely important that a child be evaluated and have her blood sugar tested at the first signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes to prevent death. These symptoms are increased thirst, extreme hunger, rapid breathing, dry and itchy skin, headache and nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, death can occur extremely quickly once the symptoms of nausea, heavy breathing, and lethargy are present. These are the main symptoms of DKA. DKA has a 100 percent fatality rate if left untreated and death can occur within hours. If these symptoms are present, parents should seek immediate medical attention, either through their pediatrician or though the emergency room, and insist on a blood-sugar test immediately.
Type 2 Diabetes and Children
Type 2 diabetes is relatively uncommon in children, making up about 8 percent of all cases in the United States. However, due to the nation's growing obesity problem, it is feared that this number is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. That means that the child's body has a difficult time metabolizing and delivering the insulin to the organs and muscles that require it to function. Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled through diet and exercise; however, sometimes oral medication is required.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes symptoms are often similar, and either should be evaluated by medical personnel as soon as possible. However, type 2 diabetes is not immediately life-threatening as type 1 diabetes is. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children are increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores or frequent infections and areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck.
When to See the Doctor
As stated above, it is extremely important to seek medical attention if either form of diabetes is suspected. Children should be seen the same day, either by a pediatrician or in the emergency room. Once there, parents should insist on a blood-sugar test. A normal blood sugar should be below 120mg/dl. Any blood sugar reading over 200 is considered adequate for diagnosis of either form of diabetes