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Facts About Childhood Diabetes

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Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes for Kids

When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, the most important step a parent can take is to learn everything possible about managing the condition. Guidance from doctors and medical providers should be strictly followed, and regular follow-up care needs to be scheduled. From there, it is critical to start educating the child. The more information everyone has, including how to make healthy diabetic-friendly recipes, the more confident they will feel about how to keep the child healthy. It's normal to feel upset and overwhelmed initially. However, it won't take long before the necessary changes, like monitoring glucose levels and new food habits, are a natural part the child's daily routine. Consider reading books about characters with diabetes that reinforce the fact that kids can maintain active, healthy lifestyles despite the diagnosis. Here are some interesting facts and information about childhood diabetes that your children will want to know.

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Type 1 Diabetes in Children

  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when a child's body ceases to produce an important hormone called insulin. Since insulin is necessary for survival, kids need to replace it either through injections or a pump.
  • Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children include fatigue, weight loss, extreme thirst, excessive urination (and perhaps even bed-wetting), extreme hunger, irritability, and fruity-smelling breath.
  • For most kids with type 1 diabetes, the cause is due to the body's immune system mistakenly attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreasInsulin plays a very important role in moving sugar from a child's bloodstream to the cells for energy. When insulin is absent, sugar builds up in the bloodstream and causes dangerous complications.
  • There are four risk areas that have been attributed to type 1 diabetes in children. These include family history, genetics, race (more prevalent in white children), and exposure to certain viruses that trigger an autoimmune response to islet (insulin) cells.
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Type 2 Diabetes in Children

  • Years ago, it was almost unheard of for a child to have type 2 diabetes. However, due to a spike in obesity amongst children, the number of type 2 diabetes cases is rapidly rising.
  • Children who have type 2 diabetes are referred to as insulin-resistant. Their bodies do produce insulin (unlike the children who have type 1 diabetes) but they don't respond to it. As a result, sugar builds up in their bloodstream and can cause serious conditions like heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness.
  • Higher than normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes are associated with girls, overweight children, family history, and kids of American Indian, African American, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino descent.<
  • Symptoms of type 2 diabetes do not usually appear suddenly. Rather, they progress gradually over time and are often not recognized until they have become problematic. Some of these symptoms include hunger (even right after eating), dry mouth, heavy breathing, slow healing of cuts and sores, fatigue, excessive urination, and unexplained weight loss.

 

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Books for Kids About Healthy Diets 

Picture Books About Eating Healthy

Funny Stories About Picky Eaters

Books for Kids Who Like to Cook

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