Recently a colleague’s toddler was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset diabetes).
Helpless I washed my colleague Sbongile and her supporting husband Mandla put up a brave fight for their tot.
Mandla says when Enhle his five months’ daughter was diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, he was “overwhelming”.
“I was so stressed out I didn’t know what to do.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
The cause is not known, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The WHO says new studies are showing that children are increasingly developing the disease.
“Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves – causing chronic problems and early death,” says the United Nation’s public health arm.
Diabetes.org says about 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes and an estimated 40,000 people will be newly diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Besthealthmag.ca says children with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes may be constantly thirsty.
‘That’s because as their blood-glucose level rises, fluid is pulled from their body tissues. These kids may especially crave sweet, cold drinks. Girls with type 1 diabetes may develop yeast infections. A yeast infection in a baby or toddler may show up as very bad diaper rash.’
These are some of the symptoms of diabetes in children:
- a sweet and fruity odor on your breath.
- abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Peggy Moreland of Mayo Clinic in the US, says diet is very important in helping to keep the blood glucose under control.
“Eating regular, healthy meals will give you better blood glucose control”.
Sbongile says she is learning how to give insulin injections, count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar. “Sometimes she screams refusing to take her meds. We monitor her blood sugar and insulin levels closely. Thanks to her doctors Enhle is showing signs of recovery.
For more information about type 1 diabetes visit diabetessa.org.za