Diabetes in children under the age of sixteen is commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes. Children and adolescents who get the disease more commonly tend to suffer from type 1 diabetes rather than type 2 diabetes.
Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This effectively means that the persons own immune defence system will attack the sufferers body tissue and/or internal organs. This is largely due to the fact that the disease prevents the pancreas from producing insulin.
Juvenile Diabetes is on the Increase
The number of children and adolescents that suffer from juvenile diabetes has grown considerably in the last 30 years. In fact some figures suggest that there are approximately three times as many juvenile diabetes sufferers now that there were in the nineteen eighties.
Europe and the USA are now also seeing a large increase in the number of children who are suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Why is Juvenile Diabetes on the Increase?
Experts do not fully understood why there has been such an increase type 1 diabetes in children. It is generally accepted that environmental factors and genetics play a major part in triggering juvenile diabetes.
The majority of children that develop juvenile diabetes do not however have a history of diabetes within the family.
The increase of type 2 diabetes in children can be more easily explained. Diabetes, including juvenile diabetes, is very closely linked to diet and lifestyle.Over the past few years there has been a vast increase in the number of people, adults and children, who are overweight or obese. Anyone who is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle is far more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than someone who is the correct weight and exercises regularly.
What are the Symptoms of Juvenile Diabetes?
Juvenile diabetes sufferers exhibit exactly the same symptoms as adults.
These can include thirst, fatigue, weight loss and an increased need to urinate. Children who suffer from diabetes can however suffer additional symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains.
It is also not unusual for the children who have diabetes to also display behavioural problems.
What to do If you Suspect your child may have Juvenile Diabetes
Any child that has any of the above symptoms for any length of time should be taken to see their doctor who will perform a full medical examination in order to determine whether or not diabetes could be the cause of the problems.
It is essential that you seek help immediately that you suspect that your child may be suffering from juvenile diabetes. The longer the condition goes untreated the more difficult it will be to get under control.