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Can I prevent my child from developing diabetes?
How would I know if my child develops diabetes?
In children, symptoms develop more quickly and become more pronounced than in adults. Common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, hunger and urination, nausea, vomiting, unexplainable fatigue and/or weight loss.
As excess sugar builds up in a child's bloodstream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. Thirst, and subsequently more urination, is the result. Weight loss occurs because muscle and fat stores are depleted since the cells cannot utilize energy or glucose the normal way. If your child exhibits any of the symptoms, make an appointment with a doctor immediately.
Tests your doctor may order to evaluate the child for the possibility of diabetes include looking at the urine for glucose, fasting glucose level, insulin level, hemoglobin A1C (looks at the average glucose level in the body over the past two to three months) or an oral glucose challenge test.
Are certain children more likely to develop diabetes?
Children with Type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop the condition if there is a family history for Type 1 diabetes. The development of Type 1 diabetes is due to autoimmune destruction against the pancreas after an exposure.
Possible exposures include certain viruses, low vitamin D levels, parts of the diet and toxins. Children with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop the condition if they are overweight, inactive or if there is a family history for Type 2 diabetes.
What are the complications of diabetes?
Diabetes can negatively affect nearly every major organ in your child's body. The more common long-term complications include damage to the nervous system, kidneys and blood vessels of the eye. Children with diabetes are at increased risk of thyroid problems and celiac disease. If your child does have either type of diabetes, it's essential that the disease be well managed. You will need a doctor to coordinate and oversee your child's care.
Dr. Christina daSilva is a pediatrician at Sanford Children’s Downtown Clinic in Bismarck. She is a Bismarck native. Dr. daSilva received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and a medical degree at Des Moines University. She completed her pediatric residency training at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.)