Type 1 diabetes in kids: Common symptoms, how to manage

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, type 1 diabetes can even affect kids who are just a few months old.

Laboratory Diabetes Blood sugar
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Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by The Health Master

Type 1 diabetes in kids

With around 70 million people suffering from diabetes in the country, India is called the diabetes capital of the world. Not just these alarming numbers, the fact that the condition is even affecting the younger generation, makes it a matter of concern.


The increasing cases of diabetes among children is a rising concern in the country. While type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, type 1 diabetes can even affect kids who are just a few months old.

Diabetes in kids is called juvenile diabetes. The condition often goes undiagnosed for a long time as the symptoms can be misinterpreted. Another reason is the lack of awareness about the growing incidences of type 1 diabetes in children.

You will be surprised to know 3/100,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year. Since we do not have a proper registry for type 1 diabetes in kids, it is highly likely that the number of cases are much higher than this.

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What causes type 1 diabetes?

The beta cells in the pancreas make insulin and in people suffering from type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are destroyed by their own immune system, leading to insufficient insulin production and increase in the blood sugar level. Certain infections can also trigger the immune system to destroy the beta cells.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in kids

In many cases, it can take months and years to detect the condition. The sad news is, if not detected and treated on time, the condition can be life-threatening.

4 Ts: The early symptoms of type 1 diabetes

Thirst – Increased thirst
Toilet – An increased urge to pee
Tiredness – Feeling fatigued despite eating healthy and exercising
Thinner – Losing weight

Two other common symptoms include irritability and increased hunger.

If these early symptoms are missed, children can develop a condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis, where ketones get build up in the blood that can make the child severely sick.

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How to manage type 1 diabetes in kids

Managing type 1 diabetes needs a diabetologist, nutritionist, psychologist and support from the family.

The aim is to maintain the blood sugar levels so that it doesn’t go too high or low and at the same time allowing the children to continue their activities safely.

Insulin is given in the form of injection and is required life-long to manage the condition. The dose of insulin is determined by:

– The current blood sugar level, which is checked every day using a glucometer.
– Counting carbohydrates in the daily diet.
– Level of physical activity

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