There are many children of all races with type 1 diabetes. It is suspected that environmental factors trigger type 1 diabetes, but the exact cause of this disease still evade medical researchers. Typical signs and symptoms of this diabetes are that the children are forever thirsty, they drink a lot of water and they pass urine very frequently. Because the sugar level in their blood is high, there is also a lot of sugar in their urine. It is the high sugar level in the bladder which cause them to drink a lot of water, and that causes them to visit the bathroom so frequently. They do wet their beds also sometimes, especially if they are very young. If this condition goes untreated, these children will also burn fat for energy, and they will lose weight.

What must parents do, if they notice these symptoms in their child?
They need to take the child to their faily doctor for a medical checkup immediately, so that he/she can test for type 1 diabetes . A urine sample will be taken and tested. If there is sugar in the urine, a finger prick test must also be performed. Any high blood sugar reading will indicate that the child has diabetes type 1. No other tests are actually required.

What is the treatment for type 1 diabetes ?
First and foremost, a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes needs a lot of medical and parental guidance. Guidance is especially required as far as the lifestyle adjustments are concerned. The parents must realise that the child has to continue with his/her life as normally as possible. However, the disease has to be managed properly so that further complications in their adulthood are prevented, or at least minimised. This must be done in the least traumatic way possible.

Blood sugar levels must be contolled through the following methods:

1) Insulin must be administered by injection. The majority of children of 5 years and older, quickly learn to inject themselves four times per day. The administration of these injections are not painful, as the needles are thin, sharp and short.

2) A healthy diet must be followed. The parents must help the child to manage his/her blood sugar levels properly, through adjustments. For example if the child has to attend a party, they need to work out what the child can eat and drink, and how much, bearing the insulin in mind, so that the blood sugar level is maitained on a healthy and constant level. Parents must assist the child to lead a normal, quality life.

3) Regular exercise must be maintained. There are many many child diabetics who participate in sports. These children need to be encouraged to participate in sports, or else they need to exercise regularly.

What are te long-term affects of type 1 diabetes on the health of children?
If these children can learn to manage their blood sugar levels, they will have the same risks as the average person to suffer from heart and circulatory problems, kidney disease, blindness or neuropathy. They must be motivated from the word go to control and manage their blood sugar levels properly. A child with a constant high blood sugar level has a 30 % of developing terminal kidney failure in 10 years’ time.

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