What are some signs/symptoms of diabetes in children that we should watch for?

Type 1 diabetes (also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) occurs when the pancreas loses its ability to make the hormone insulin. Insulin is needed to convert starches, sugar and other foods into energy. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but there are a few risk factors involved (family history and presence of various genes). In type 1 diabetes, the person’s own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This destruction results in the body’s inability to make insulin ever again. Common side effects to look for include increased thirst or urination, extreme hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, irritability, unusual behavior, fatigue, weight loss, and genital yeast infections. If your child has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I would advise seeking out a registered dietitian. She can sit with you and your child and help to devise a meal plan around what the child likes. The diet should be balanced and contain food from all the food groups. She will likely recommend that your child take in adequate fruits and vegetables in addition to lean protein sources (peanut butter, eggs, lean meats, low fat dairy products) and whole wheat products (bread, rice, cereal etc).

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