Introduction To Juvenile Diabetes: Causes And Symptoms In Toddlers

By Ishana Deb, Contributing Writer
May 25, 2017
Introduction To Juvenile Diabetes Causes And Symptoms In Toddlers

Juvenile diabetes is one of the most common diseases experienced by children all over the world. Although the exact cause is unknown, a large sector of the medical community believes it is an autoimmune disorder triggered by a number of factors.

An article published by Medical News Today stated that around 1.93 in 1,000 children have juvenile diabetes in the United States. It was further mentioned that the incidence of the disease in children up to 9 years of age had increased by 21% between 2001 and 2009.

The alarming incidence rates of type 1 diabetes have been attributed to physical and chemical changes in the immediate environment of the population. It has also been observed that the number of children that have juvenile diabetes is higher in developed countries, as compared to developing countries.

As per a report published by Diabetes UK, about 24.5 in 100,000 children between the ages of 0 and 14 are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year in the United Kingdom alone. This number is only exceeded by a few countries, including Norway, Finland, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

Causes and symptoms of juvenile diabetes

  1. Causes of juvenile diabetes

    • Genetic factors

      It has been found that a lot of children with juvenile diabetes belong to families with one or more members diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This can be attributed to a specific gene coding for diabetes that runs in families.
      In familial cases, the DNA, or the coding center of the body located in the cells, which determines the internal and external functioning of a person’s body, has a configuration such that signals for the onset of diabetes.
      In such a situation, the person with the gene code for diabetes has an extremely high chance of being diagnosed with the disease, except in certain rare cases. Juvenile diabetes caused due to genetic makeup cannot be prevented. However, patients can live a long and healthy life with proper care and timely diagnosis.
    • Viral infection

      Several theories have been proposed stating that the onset of the disease is due to the attack of a virus. The antibodies, or “germ-fighting soldiers,” produced by the human body during the infection start attacking and killing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This is because the recognition centers in the virus mimic the shape of that specific cell.

      If continued for long, almost all the cells that produce insulin are killed, leading to a major drop in insulin production in the body.
    • Environmental factors

      Many doctors and researchers also claim that increasing pollution can be a trigger for the development of type 1 diabetes.

      This can be interpreted as a risk of infection from external sources in the environment. Overall, the causes and symptoms of juvenile diabetes vary according to one’s lifestyle as well as the chemical composition of the body.
  2. Causes and symptoms of juvenile diabetes
  3. Symptoms of juvenile diabetes

    • Fatigue

      Despite being inconclusive, lethargy and fatigue are commonly experienced as a few of the early signs of juvenile diabetes. Lack of energy can be attributed to the body’s inability to produce energy by breaking down sugar. Since the body can no longer produce sufficient insulin to cater to the food supply, the sugar diffused through the bloodstream after the breakdown of carbohydrates remains intact.

      This leads to a deficit in the energy supply to the limbs and muscles. If you observe that your child has been consistently lethargic for more than a couple of days without the onset of any other illness, then it is a good idea to consult a doctor.
    • Frequent urination

      The unprocessed sugar in the blood has to be removed regularly. This excretion process is done through urination. Children often develop an increased frequency of urination in the early stages of type 1 juvenile diabetes.

      Sometimes, an elevated rate of urination occurring due to lifestyle habits and secondary factors can be misinterpreted as being a sign of type 1 diabetes. Make sure that during the period of diagnosis your child is following his usual daily routine.
    • Increased thirst

      A person with juvenile diabetes tends to feel dehydrated much more frequently since the body removes excess sugar in the blood through urine.

      This is much more prominent in younger children who are physically active. If your child suddenly starts finishing up two bottles of water instead of the usual single bottle during his play session, then it may be a signal to pay a visit to the doctor.
    • Lack of periods

      Juvenile diabetes is one of many reasons a young woman might miss her period. A girl with juvenile diabetes may experience a series of irregular menstrual cycles over a period of several months. She may also have a normal cycle, followed by a couple of missed ones and then have a painful period again; the patterns vary from person to person.

If your child is showing any number of the above-mentioned symptoms, then they may be at a high risk of type 1 diabetes. Consult your doctor for more information.

Signs of juvenile diabetes in toddlers

Signs of juvenile diabetes in toddlers

It is often extremely difficult to come to a conclusion regarding the health of young children less than 2 years of age. Their inability to communicate efficiently becomes a huge barrier in detecting discomfort.

A few telltale signs of juvenile diabetes in toddlers are listed below, which may be helpful for new parents.

  • Unhealed wounds: People with diabetes generally report that their wounds take a long time to heal, sometimes even years. Any cut or bruise on the surface of the skin that might not be healing at the usual rate is a very strong sign of juvenile diabetes. If you suspect that your child is having trouble healing, then you must consult a physician immediately.
  • Crankiness: Type 1 diabetes may cause a happy and active kid to become moody and lethargic. He may stop responding to his usual stimulants and even show an aversion toward his favorite toys. Depression and anxiety are a few psychological side-effects of the disease.
  • Fruity breath: The excess unprocessed sugar in the blood may cause your child to have a fruity or wine-like breath. It is important to keep track of such prominent physical changes and to talk to a doctor as soon as possible.

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