Diabetes is a life-long condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body’s way of converting glucose into energy is not working as it should. However, with careful management, children with diabetes can continue to lead full, healthy and active lives.
Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood. If left untreated, it can result in very serious health problems. Early diagnosis of the condition can prevent emergency hospitalisation. If parents, carers and childminders know the symptoms it can be spotted and treated early on. Symptoms can come on quickly. Go immediately to your GP if you are worried.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in children, however type 2 diabetes is now on the rise. This is caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight (see childhood obesity).
Managing type 1 diabetes
Children with type 1 diabetes need treatment for their whole life. Everyone in the family needs to learn about it as managing it will affect the whole family. You'll be taught how to recognise, prevent and treat hypoglycaemia, (or hypos), when your child's blood sugar level drops too low and they have symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, tiredness, headaches or behaviour changes.