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Living With Juvenile Diabetes

Jan 31, 2008
Being a kid can be tough. Kids face all kinds of growing pains, from sibling rivalries and playground bullies to growth spurts and acne. But none of these challenges are as difficult as those faced by kids with chronic medical conditions.

Juvenile diabetes is an illness that not only hinders life as a kid, but also may also brutally change the shape of adulthood. Even healthy, active kids who suffer from juvenile diabetes face an opponent that can rob them of their good health as they grow into adults. As parents, we can take necessary steps today to help raise a healthier kid.

It's easy to misinterpret and misunderstand the symptoms and causes of juvenile diabetes. Here are some of the facts that every parent needs to know:

Basics of Juvenile Diabetes

First and foremost, it's important to realize that your child's diabetes is not your fault, and you need to make sure that your child does not feel that he or she has brought about the disease. Popular to contrary belief, Type I or "juvenile" diabetes is not caused by childhood obesity or sugar overload. This is a genetic disease.

When kids have juvenile diabetes, an autoimmune response to pancreatic antigens is created, causing these proteins to break down. The pancreas delivers the insulin that breaks down glucose and converts the glucose into energy. In the United States alone, approximately 1.4 million people suffer from this form of diabetes.

Symptoms and Effects

Juvenile diabetes is presented with a long list of possible side effects. Foot ulcers, digestive problems, possible kidney failure, difficulties with eyesight and even blindness can occur. Symptoms of juvenile diabetes include blurred vision, excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, extreme fatigue or lethargy and a numbing or tingling sensation in the feet and hands. If your child complains about one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your physician immediately.

Treatment

There is no way to prevent the cause of juvenile diabetes, but there are treatment methods available to help to control the disease and reduce your child's discomfort. If your child is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, your first step is to find a diabetes clinic in your area. Insist on a doctor's referral to see a physician specializing in juvenile diabetes. Your child's specialist will prescribe insulin and speak to you about diet and exercise requirements. You'll learn how to monitor your child's glucose levels on a regular basis.

And you'll need to be sure that your child is taking his or her medications properly, and eating the right foods. You'll also need to be sure that your child stays healthy and active, because exercise is very important in staving off potential complications of juvenile diabetes.

Parents naturally want to prevent our children from harm and suffering; but unfortunately, some things are simply out of our control. Juvenile diabetes is a genetic disease that cannot be prevented. There are, however, precautions that may be taken.

If you are concerned that your child may have juvenile diabetes, see your family doctor or pediatrician right away. If there is a history of juvenile diabetes in your family, you must know the signs and symptoms.

Parents need to take steps to keep our children healthy. If your child has juvenile diabetes, make sure that he or she gets plenty of exercise and make smart food choices. It's the best way to ensure the healthy, carefree lifestyle that your child deserves.
About the Author
Author Venus Enock provides material for a variety of popular web sites, on healthy eating and health diet fitness issues.
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