Type 1 diabetes (Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) is the most common form of the Diabetes in Children and adolescents. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that type 1 diabetes prevalence stands at 1.93 in every 1,000 children and adolescents, while type 2 diabetes affects 0.24 in every 1,000.

Type 1 diabetes in children

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. In most children with type 1 diabetes the body’s own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Genetics may play a role in this process, and exposure to certain viruses may trigger the disease.

Insulin key to sugar entering cells

Whatever the cause, once the islet cells (Pancreatic cells) are destroyed, your child will produce little or no insulin. Normally the hormone insulin helps glucose enter your child’s cells to provide energy to the muscles and tissues.

When everything is working properly, once you eat, the pancreas secretes more insulin into the bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key by unlocking microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter the body’s cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, and as the blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.

The liver acts as a glucose storage and manufacturing center. When insulin levels are low — when you haven’t eaten in a while, for example — the liver releases stored glycogen, which is then converted to glucose to keep your blood glucose level within a normal range.

Dangerous sugar level in bloodstream

In type 1 diabetes, none of this occurs because there’s no or very little insulin to let glucose into the cells. So instead of being transported into your child’s cells, sugar builds up in your child’s bloodstream, where it can cause life-threatening complications.

In type 2, the islet cells are still functioning, but the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin.


The signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children usually develop quickly, over a period of weeks. Look for:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination.
  • Extreme hunger..
  • Weight loss..
  • Irritability or unusual behavior. .
  • Blurred vision.
  • Yeast infection. Girls with type 1 diabetes may have a genital yeast infection, and babies can develop diaper rash caused by yeast.

Risk factors

There aren’t many known risk factors for type 1 diabetes.

  • A family history.Anyone with a parent or siblings with type 1  Diabetes in Children has a slightly increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Genetic susceptibility.The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

 Possible risk factors

  • Viral exposure.Exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackie virus, rubella or cytomegalovirus may trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells, or the virus may directly infect the islet cells.
  • Low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D may protect against type 1 diabetes.
  • Other dietary factors.Drinking water that contains nitrates may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.


Type 1 diabetes can affect nearly every major organ in your child’s body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. The good news is that keeping your child’s blood sugar level close to normal most of the time can dramatically reduce the risk of these complications.

Tests and diagnosis

If your child’s doctor suspects diabetes, he or she will recommend a screening test. The primary test used to diagnose type 1 diabetes in children is the:

  • Random blood sugar test.
  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test.
  • Auto antibodies. If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will also run blood tests to check for auto antibodies that are common in type 1 diabetes and help doctors distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  • Ketones -The presence of ketones by products from the breakdown of fat in your child’s urine also suggests type 1 diabetes rather than type 2.

Treatments and drugs

Treatment for type 1 diabetes is a lifelong commitment of blood sugar monitoring, insulin, healthy eating and regular exercise — even for kids..

Blood sugar monitoring

Depending on what type of insulin therapy your child needs, you may need to check and record your child’s blood sugar at frequent intervals..

Insulin delivery options

Often insulin is injected using a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen — a device that looks like an ink pen, except the cartridge is filled with insulin.

An insulin pump also may be an option for some children. The pump is a device about the size of a cell phone worn on the outside of the body. In most cases, a tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s inserted under the skin of the abdomen.

Healthy eating

Contrary to popular perception, there’s no diabetes diet. Your child won’t be restricted to a lifetime of boring, bland foods. Instead, your child will need plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains — foods that are high in nutrition and low in fat and calories.

Your child’s dietitian will likely suggest that your child — and the rest of the family — consume fewer animal products and sweets. In fact, it’s the best eating plan for the entire family.

Physical activity

Everyone needs regular aerobic exercise, and children who have type 1 diabetes are no exception. Encourage your child to get regular physical activity.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Type 1 diabetes is a serious disease. Helping your child follow his or her diabetes treatment plan takes round-the-clock commitment and will initially require some significant lifestyle changes. But your efforts are worthwhile. Careful management of type 1 diabetes can reduce your child’s risk of serious — even life-threatening — complications.

As your child gets older:

  • Encourage him or her to take an increasingly active role in diabetes management
  • Stress the importance of lifelong diabetes care
  • Teach your child how to test his or her blood sugar and inject insulin
  • Help your child make wise food choices
  • Encourage your child to remain physically active
  • Foster a relationship between your child and his or her diabetes treatment team
  • Make sure your child wears a medical identification tag

Above all, stay positive. The habits you teach your child today will help him or her enjoy an active and healthy life with type 1 diabetes.

School and diabetes

Along with at-home care, you’ll also need to work with your child’s teachers to make sure they know what the symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels are.

Alternative medicine

There is no treatment that can replace insulin for anyone with type 1 diabetes in Children . People who have type 1 diabetes must use injected insulin (exogenous insulin) every day to survive.

It’s been suggested that some substances may help with blood sugar control. But none of these substances have been proved to effectively manage or prevent type 1 diabetes and they should not replace insulin.  Some of the substances that have been tested for blood sugar control in type 1 diabetes in Children include blond psyllium, cascia cinnamon, fenugreek, guar gum and niacinamide (vitamin B-3).

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