Children can get Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and it’s crucial that they see a doctor if they have either. If they don’t get medical attention, they could develop other long-term health problems. In this blog, Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, explains the signs and symptoms of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a common health condition characterized by high blood sugar. If not treated, the high blood sugar levels could cause nerve damage, heart and kidney problems, and even blindness. The two types children can get are the following:
Type 1 diabetes, also called autoimmune diabetes or juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body can’t make insulin, because the immune system attacks the pancreas, which is the organ that produces insulin. If there’s no insulin, the glucose (sugar) from the foods a child eats can’t get into the cells to provide energy. Instead, the sugar levels remain high in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but more children are getting it because many are leading sedentary lifestyles and eating unhealthy foods. In this case, the body does make insulin, but the body doesn’t respond to it. This lack of response results in high blood sugar levels.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes
It’s important to keep an eye on your child and bring them in for testing if you think they have diabetes. Some of the signs and symptoms may be easy to miss unless you know what to look for. Here are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in children:
- Feeling more tired than normal for no apparent reason
- Being very thirsty, drinking more, and peeing more often
- Being more hungry than usual
- Losing weight without trying
- Acting irritable or moody
- Having sweet or fruity-smelling breath
- Slow-healing sores or wounds
When to see us
If you notice any of previously mentioned signs or symptoms, make an appointment for your child to see Dr. Labovitz as soon as possible. She’ll perform a physical exam and order testing to measure glucose levels.
Depending on the results, she’ll devise a treatment plan that may include eating healthy foods, exercising, losing weight, and taking insulin or other medications.
The sooner you get your child’s blood sugar levels stable, the sooner they’ll feel better and the less long-term damage they’ll have. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.