In children, diabetes mellitus type 1 develops due to disorders in the activity of the pancreas. Such a pathology in a child can appear on the background of a stressful situation or chronic pancreatitis, which is equally bad for adolescents and for children.
The pancreas is located in the retroperitoneal space on the posterior abdominal wall and belongs to the glands of the mixed type. Parenchyma performs exocrine and endocrine functions.
The body produces pancreatic juice, which contains digestive enzymes and the hormone insulin, which is involved in most of the body's metabolic processes. The main function of insulin is to control the correct glucose level in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes in children develops as a result of the lack of insulin. This pathology is due to the defeat of the apparatus of the gland producing insulin.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 in adolescents is called insulin-dependent in another way, since insulin therapy is constantly required for its treatment and prevention. Sometimes insulin is required and diabetic with type 2 disease, but this happens infrequently. Type 1 diabetes cannot do without insulin injections.
Causes of type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents
The main causes of diabetes in a child are pathological processes in the islets of Langerhans, which are located in the tail of the parenchyma. Damage to the gland can be caused by many causes, such as a viral infection. But most often, pancreatitis develops due to the aggression of the child’s own immune system.
In such a case, the islets of Langerhans are destroyed by cells of the lymphoid tissue. In a healthy child, these cells attack only alien agents.
This process is called "autoimmune" and refers to the production of antibodies by the body against itself.
Autoimmune diseases can be associated with a variety of organs, such as the thyroid gland or the adrenal glands. These pathologies are quite common in patients with type 1 diabetes.
This indicates a hereditary predisposition to the systems of immune damage that may be caused by other external factors.
It is not known which mechanism triggers the disease, but scientists suggest that the autoimmune process may be caused by drinking cow’s milk or by contracting a viral infection. And directly autoimmune process provokes the development of diabetes in children and adolescents.
Signs in children
Manifestations of type 1 diabetes in a child are usually acute. Sudden signs of dizziness and weakness may appear after a meal or on the background of prolonged fasting.
The main "fuel" that cells of the human body use to consume energy is glucose. If most cells can convert energy from fats and other nutrients, then the brain and nervous system necessarily require glucose.
Glucose from dietary carbohydrates stimulates the production of the hormone-insulin, which affects cell membrane receptors and promotes the penetration of glucose into the cell. If this process is disrupted, a failure in metabolism and cellular energy occurs. A large amount of glucose enters the blood and urine.
Using glucose in such a situation becomes completely ineffective and the following symptoms are observed in a child with decompensated type 1 diabetes:
- dry mouth and thirst;
- fast fatiguability;
- frequent urination during the day and at night;
- with an increase in appetite weight loss;
- itching caused by fungal infections in the genital area;
- other skin infections.
Important! If a child has any of these symptoms or several, it should be urgently taken to a doctor for a test.
Great importance is heredity. If diabetes occurred in the genus of a baby, the probability of developing the disease increases. However, type 1 diabetes is much less common than type 2 diabetes. More information about what is decompensated diabetes can be found on our website.
How to treat a child
Type 1 diabetes is almost always compensated by injections of human insulin. Other therapeutic procedures and activities should be aimed at normalizing the metabolism and strengthening the immunity of the child.
Prevention of diabetes in children can be expressed by the following points:
- Regular insulin injections. Injections do daily, one or several times. It all depends on the type of drug used.
- Elimination of physical inactivity and increased physical activity.
- Maintain normal body weight.
- Tidying up the diet and maintaining a low-carb diet.
- Normalization of cellular energy processes and maintaining the correct level of glucose.
Note! Diabetes treatment should be selected by a qualified endocrinologist. For each patient, this is done individually, depending on the stage, symptoms and characteristics of the organism.
Prevention of diabetes in children and adolescents
Disease prevention includes a whole range of procedures to prevent the development of negative factors provoking the development of diabetes mellitus:
- Parents of a baby are required to monitor any signs that indicate high or low blood sugar.
- If your child already has diabetes, you must regularly measure the level of sugar in the blood plasma using a special modern glucometer.
- The glucose level should be adjusted by insulin injections.
- The child must strictly adhere to the diet compiled by the doctor.
- The child should always carry with him sugar or sweet foods that may be needed if hypoglycemia develops. In severe situations, glucagon injections may be required.
- Diabetics should be checked regularly with a doctor for eye, leg, skin, kidney, and blood sugar levels.
- To be able to prevent decompensation of the pathological process, you need to consult a doctor in the early stages of the disease.
Causes of type 1 diabetes in children
The main cause of the disease is a violation of a healthy lifestyle. Hypodynamia is on the second place (insufficient motor activity). A big role is played by the violation of the principles of healthy eating. The development of diabetes mellitus contributes to the consumption of fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods; a low carbohydrate diet for diabetics must be observed.
All these factors will invariably lead to pathological processes in the child’s body.
Regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of developing and progressing cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, and diabetes mellitus. It is likely that at the time of physical exertion will have to adjust the dose of insulin preparations. The dosage depends on the intensity and duration of physical exertion.
Important! Excessive physical exertion and insulin overdose can significantly reduce glucose levels and provoke the development of hypoglycemia!
Food for adolescents and children should be rich in fiber, the diet is well balanced in the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The use of low molecular weight carbohydrates, which is sugar, should be excluded.
The daily carbohydrate content in food should be about the same. On the day there should be three main methods and 2-3 snacks. A personal diet for a child with type 1 diabetes should be an endocrinologist.
Completely exclude the occurrence of the disease today is not yet possible, because it arises due to various factors. But scientists around the world tirelessly study the disease and make effective adjustments to the scheme of treatment and diagnosis of the disease.
Probable complications of the disease
Type 1 diabetes in most cases gives serious complications only in the absence of adequate treatment. If you carelessly treat your health and the health of children, the following complications may arise:
- Hypoglycemia. Blood sugar levels can decrease dramatically due to the large gap between meals, insulin overdose, excessive physical activity or hyperthermia.
- Improper change of the insulin drug can lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels and ketoacidosis.
- In diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis is aggravated, which is dangerous for circulatory disorders in the lower extremities (diabetic foot, gangrene), heart disease (myocardial infarction, angina), stroke.
- Nephropathy - diabetic pathology of the kidneys.
- Diabetic retinopathy - impaired vision.
- Nerve degeneration - diabetic neuropathy and angiopathy, leading to the appearance of ulcers and infections.
- High risk of developing infectious diseases.
- In severe advanced cases of the disease, hyperosmolar, ketoacidotic, hypoglycemic and lactic acidic comas.
There is no complete cure for type 1 diabetes today. The main factor and basis for further treatment of the disease is the correct diet. Satisfactory well-being and stable remission can be achieved only with careful diet correction and increased physical activity.
The risk of serious complications in the later stages with a well-chosen diet is significantly reduced. Most people with diabetes have hypertension.
Pills for diabetes mellitus should be taken regularly, they will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications of the disease.