Signs of Diabetes in Babies

Diabetes is a chronic disease and affects the ability of your body to process blood sugar. Diabetes is further divided into two subtypes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 or juvenile diabetes affects toddlers and babies. What causes it is not clear, but experts believe that your baby develops it when his/her body destroys those cells that make insulin, and in the absence of insulin, it is not possible to regulate blood sugar levels. It is important to know the signs so you could seek medical attention and help prevent further complications associated with diabetes.

Signs of Diabetes in Babies

Very high levels of blood sugar can damage the organs of the body. Therefore, it is important to seek timely medical attention to ensure your baby do not end up developing serious complications. Frequent urination and increased thirst are the typical signs of juvenile diabetes. High blood sugar levels trigger a specific reaction in the body that soaks fluid from tissues, which leaves your baby constantly thirsty. Giving them more fluids would result in frequent urination as well.

Besides these typical signs, you may notice other issues as well. For instance:

  • Extreme Hunger: In the absence of enough insulin, there will be inadequate amount of sugar moving into your child's cells, leaving their organs and muscles energy-depleted. This would result in extreme hunger.
  • Weight Loss: If your baby eats more than usual but still loses weight rapidly, it could be due to diabetes. Muscle tissues and fat stores will shrink when they do not get enough sugar for energy production. Unexplained weight loss is usually among the earliest signs of diabetes.
  • Irritability: One explanation to why your child has sudden mood swings is that they have diabetes. Mood swings and irritability are among the most common signs of diabetes in babies.
  • Blurred Vision: With blood sugar being on the higher side, your baby may develop vision problems. Blurred vision is a common issue, which is the result of fluid pulled from the lenses of the eyes. Your child may complain about finding it difficult to focus clearly.
  • Yeast Infection: If your little girl develops a genital yeast infection, it may be because he/she has type 1 diabetes. Babies with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop diaper rash.
  • Fruity Smelling Breath: When your baby consumes sugar that body cannot utilize, they will excrete it through urine. That unused sugar will cause fruity smelling breath as well.
  • Unexplained Vomiting: It is another sign of diabetes and happens when your child's body cannot deal with excess sugar in the blood. If your child has not stomach illness but they still throw up every 3-4 days, you should go see your doctor. It could be a sign of diabetes, especially if your child does not have diarrhea, fever, or other symptoms of stomach illness.

How Did My Baby Get the Diabetes?

Experts have not identified the exact cause of juvenile diabetes. They believe it is an autoimmune disease, and like other similar diseases, your baby's immune system attacks healthy cells. In case of type 1 diabetes, the body starts killing cells that make insulin, which leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. If you or someone in your family already has diabetes, your baby will be at an increased risk of developing juvenile diabetes.

How Will It Be Treated?

You already know about the basic signs of diabetes in babies and have already confirmed that your baby has it. What should you do now? Unfortunately, there is no single cure to the problem, and the treatment involves developing healthy eating habits and monitoring blood sugar levels constantly. Regular exercise is also important.

You will have to help your child understand the importance of making right food choices and staying active throughout the life. You have to work closely with your doctor as your child grows. They will require different types and doses of insulin with age – you may also have to change their meal plan according to their age. Here is more about helping your child live with diabetes:

1. Encourage Them to Stay Active

You have to encourage your child to stay active and get regular physical activity. Make them sign up for dance lessons or a sports team. It is even better if you can exercise with them. You can visit an indoor climbing wall, walk through the neighborhood together, or simply play catch in the backyard. As long as it keeps them active, it works.

Understand that blood sugar levels come down with physical activity. The good thing is that the effects of exercise last for about 12 hour after exercise. Just be sure to keep an eye on your child's blood sugar level when they start a new activity. This tells you how your child's body reacts to that new activity. It is sometimes important to change their meal plan as well to suit the increased activity.

2. Pay Attention to Their Diet

If you have been under the impression that there is a diabetes diet, you are wrong. You really do not need to restrict your child to a lifetime of bland, boring foods. They can always have plenty of fruits, whole grain, and veggies – just opt for nutritious foods with low fat and calorie content.

It is a good idea to work with a dietician to help make a right diet plan as per the age of your child. It will be easier to manage things if the whole family decides to limit the intake of sweets and animal products. Your child's meal plan can certainly have sugar foods, but they should have it occasionally.

3. Other Tips

Knowledge about the signs of diabetes in babies and toddlers is important but you should also know how to help them deal with the problem. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Help them understand why it is important for them to take steps for better diabetes management.
  • Tell them why lifelong diabetes care is so important.
  • Help them learn how they can manage their blood sugar and inject insulin when required.
  • Tell what foods they should or should not eat, and how much.
  • Ensure that they wear a medical identification tag.
  • Stay positive and help your child to develop a positive outlook towards life. 
 
 
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