Detecting Diabetes in Children | “Stay healthy!”

Drinking a lot and having to go to the toilet constantly: These can be signs of diabetes in children and adolescents. Parents should then definitely have their child examined by a doctor. Because the chronic metabolic disease is often recognized too late.

What is diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease. The main characteristic is a permanently high blood sugar level – either because the body does not produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes) or because the cells are no longer sensitive enough to the metabolic hormone (type 2 diabetes). The problem: a too high blood sugar level attacks the blood vessels and can damage nerves, heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs.

More than seven million people in Germany are diagnosed with diabetes, and another two million are likely to be ill without knowing it. About 90 percent of those affected in this country have type 2 diabetes mellitus. In the past, people often talked about “old-age diabetes” or “old-age sugar” because an unhealthy lifestyle increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the long term.

Type 1 diabetes in children

More and more children and adolescents are also suffering from diabetes – albeit with type 1 diabetes. This is the form of diabetes that is not the result of an unhealthy diet or too little exercise. According to the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the incidence rate in this country is increasing by three to four percent every year. Smaller children are particularly affected.

So far, experts can only speculate about why your body suddenly stops producing sufficient quantities of vital insulin. Sometimes an infection triggers diabetes in children, but sometimes no specific cause can be found. However, the fact is: Type 1 diabetes is the most common metabolic disease in childhood.

In Germany, an estimated 30,000 to 32,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 19 years live with diabetes.

German Diabetes Society

For those affected, the diagnosis means that they have to administer the sugar-regulating hormone insulin themselves several times a day. This works either through syringes, pens or a pump that is attached to the body. It is crucial that the dose is always adapted to the respective situation. Various factors play a role here, such as meals, physical activity, acute illnesses or even stress.

Symptoms for diabetes in children

Experts warn that diabetes in children is often diagnosed too late. The reason: the typical symptoms are very unspecific. This means that they can also occur in connection with other diseases or are even normal under certain circumstances.

If diabetes is actually recognized too late in children, it can, in the worst case, lead to a dangerous metabolic imbalance, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis. It can be life threatening. But undetected type 1 diabetes also harbors other dangers. Cognitive deficits in child development can threaten as long-term consequences. Good treatment from the start is also important, not least because of the long lifespan that the young patients still have to face.

Parents should seek medical advice with these symptoms:

  1. constant thirst
  2. frequent urination
  3. Weight loss
  4. persistent fatigue

A blood sugar test and a urine test can then bring clarity.

Live healthier

A healthy lifestyle can prevent type 2 diabetes. With the right diet and sufficient exercise, people with diabetes can also lower their blood sugar levels and have a positive effect on the course of the disease.


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