For a long time now, ‘sugar diabetes’ has been known to affect old people but many people never thought, or may be a few people knew, that it also affects children.
Adults are also becoming quite knowledgeable about diabetes and, of course, other related issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Does diabetes affect kids? Yes it does, and this is the type of diabetes called Type 1 diabetes.
Who really gets it?
This condition is often diagnosed in children, adolescents and young adults. The exact cause of this condition is really unknown, but it is thought to result when the body attacks ‘itself’ and, specifically certain areas of a special organ that controls ‘sugar’ in our bodies, called pancreas.
This organ releases important chemical called insulin, which controls sugar levels in the blood.
Once this organ fails, production of insulin ceases and sugar levels become abnormally high! That’s when diabetes is diagnosed.
What signs should worry us?
The typical signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, fatigue and malaise, urinating often, weight loss, blurry eyesight.
However, most kids present for the first time in a bad state, which usually needs admission. The condition can be lethal, so better we also check our kids’ blood sugar regularly. The condition usually presents with stomach pain, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, and with fruity breath odor.
How is it detected?
Diabetes is diagnosed by checking blood sugar. This can be done when you pay a visit to the doctor or clinic. A finger prick test that gives results in less than one minute is available.
One test can be done when the child has spent at least 8 hours without food. It is called fasting blood sugar test.
The other test can be done any time after the child has eaten, and that one is called Random Blood Sugar Test.
Is it treatable?
Yes it is! The hallmark of treatment is insulin replacement. It’s commonly known to come in the form of injection. Drug therapy, it is irrelevant since the problem is mainly shortage or absence of insulin.
*Send your comments or questions at [email protected] You can also tune to Dr Ntwaagae’s Wellness Live radio programme on Gabz Fm 96.2 and get a weekly dose of health advice.