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Juvenile Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Type 1 Diabetes in children is known as Insulin dependent diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes.

Juvenile diabetes is a type of diabetes where, the pancreas of the child fails to produce adequate insulin required by the child to survive hence; the insulin deficiency shall have to be fulfilled.

As type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children or in teens hence, it is known as juvenile diabetes and once the child is diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, the child has to be insulin dependent lifelong hence, it is known as Insulin – dependent diabetes.

Onset of juvenile diabetes is generally before the age of 25 years. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which if uncontrolled leads to several complications involving organs such as eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys and skin.



In Type 1 Diabetes, the body’s own immune system that usually fights the harmful bacteria and viruses mistakenly attacks the insulin producing (beta islet) cells in the pancreas. This results in the production of little or no insulin. The insulin secreted by the pancreas helps in reducing the amount of sugar in the blood stream as it moves the blood sugar into the cells. In Type 1 diabetes due to reduced amounts of insulin the sugar builds up in the blood stream of the child instead of moving into the cells. This leads to increased blood sugar.


Risk Factors
  • Family History.
  • Presence of certain genes.
  • Exposure to certain viruses which may directly infect or trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells.
  • Consuming water containing nitrates.
  • Timing of introducing cereal into a baby’s diet.


  • Increased thirst.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Appetite increased.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Frequent infections of urinary tract, skin or vagina.

In case, these early symptoms of diabetes are undetected and treatment is not started then chemicals known as ketones may build up in the blood of the child causing diabetic ketoacidosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are

  • Dry skin.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea & vomiting.
  • Breath is fruity smelling.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Loss of consciousness.


  • Random blood sugar test.
  • Fasting blood sugar test.
  • Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test.
  • Ketone test & Autoantibodies to confirm the type of diabetes.



Treatment for type 1 diabetes continues lifelong. As the child grows, his treatment plan shall change; the child may require different types or doses of insulin, new meal plan, or alterations in treatment. Proper treatment helps in controlling the diabetic symptoms and in reducing the long term complications. Type 1 diabetes can be treated by:-

  • Regular blood glucose monitoring.
  • Insulin & other medications – Some of the types of insulin available are short-acting; long–acting insulin; rapid-acting and intermediate –acting insulin.
  • Consumption of healthy diet.
  • Regular participation in active exercises.
  • Pancreas transplantation.
  • Islet cell transplantation.


Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes

Currently, there is no known method to prevent type 1 diabetes but the complications due to type 1 diabetes can be prevented by

  • Controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Scheduling regular visits with the physician.
  • Performing yearly eye examination.
  • Consuming a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Participating in regular physical activity.


Next Article: HbA1c in Diabetes
Previous Article: Neonatal Diabetes
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