Silent threat, diabetes in children parents may not recognize - Symptoms, Causes, and More

• The recommendation is for children aged 1-3 years old to consume 3 serving spoons of rice-flour, 2 serving spoons of vegetables, 3 pieces of fruit, 3 tablespoons of meat, 2 glasses of milk, and no more than 2 teaspoons of sugar.
• Children aged 4-5 years old should eat 5 serving spoons of rice-flour, 3 serving spoons of vegetables, 3 pieces of fruit, 3 tablespoons of meat, 2-3 glasses of milk, and no more than 3 teaspoons of sugar.

Diabetes is a disease that everyone is familiar with but many people think that it can only happen to adults or the elderly. In fact, children and teenagers have the same chance of developing diabetes.

How does diabetes occur in children?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body has high sugar levels due to its efficiency in turning sugar (carbohydrates) into energy decreases. Lack of proper care increases the risk of complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, eye disease and other neurological diseases. There are two types of common diabetes that can be found at any age.

Type 1 diabetes, which is most often found in children, is a condition where the body is unable to produce an important hormone from the pancreas called “insulin” which is primarily responsible for maintaining the balance of carbohydrate metabolism and brining blood sugar to nourish cells to create energy. When insulin is lacking, the blood sugar level will rise causing the kidneys to excrete excess sugar through the urine so that the body loses a lot of water.

Although type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, the ages when we have to be most careful are between 5-6 years old and 11-13 years old. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes has yet to be identified but it is assumed to be an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system is impaired and produces substances that destroy the pancreas until it is unable to produce insulin. This results in the body's inability to metabolize sugar normally, requiring insulin injections and dietary adjustments to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults than children. That’s why it is also called "adult diabetes". However, with the modern lifestyle where children eat a lot of fat and spend time on screens instead of exercising, the chance of it occurring in children is growing. This type of diabetes is caused by “insulin resistance”. Under this condition, the body can produce insulin but at a level that is not enough to meet the needs of the body or the body's cells are less effective in responding to insulin. As a result, the blood sugar level rises and becomes diabetic. The cause of type 2 diabetes can include genetics and being overweight.

Signs of diabetes in children

• Excessive and frequent thirst
• Frequent urination. Some children may wet their bed at night.
• The body is weak, lacking energy and easily tired
• Frequent hunger, eating large amounts of food but having abnormal weight loss
• Blurred vision
• Slow healing wounds
• Numbness in fingertips and toes
• Nausea, vomiting

How to cope when your child has diabetes

When you know your child has diabetes, the important thing is to be mindful and understand that it is not anyone's fault. Parents should be prepared to accept the truth and face problems together for the whole family as a team. Here are some key things to do:

• Understand the nature and causes of diabetes. Although it is a disease that cannot be cured, proper care can be taken to treat the symptoms working with a doctor.
• Talk to your child so they understand the reasons for the symptoms and accept the reality, so that they recognize the changes in their body and the healing process and can take care of themself properly.
• Inform pertinent persons such as teachers, relatives and nannies so they understand the condition, the special attention and care needed, and are able to cope in a timely manner in an emergency.
• With children with type 2 diabetes, the whole family's eating habits should be adjusted to focus on nutritious foods instead of just changing the child’s diet. Give your child knowledge, understanding and happiness rather than forcing anything on them.
• Get regular health check-ups to monitor symptoms and receive continuous advice from the doctor.

Pediatric diabetes treatment

The only treatment for diabetes so far is insulin injections to control blood sugar along with regular monitoring of blood sugar level, eating appropriately proportioned foods according to the needs of the body, and regular exercise.
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