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Neonatal Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Neonatal diabetes is a type of diabetes which generally affects children below 9 months of age.

Neonatal diabetes diabetes is a very rare, occurring in about 1 in 300,000 to 1 in 400,000 live births. Infants with this kind of diabetes fail to produce adequate insulin which leads to elevated levels of blood glucose. Neonatal Diabetes can be mistaken with type 1 diabetes, which is a much common type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes generally occurs later in life and not during the initial 6 months of life.



Neonatal diabetes is caused by one of the genetic mutations and is hence, depicted as a monogenic form of diabetes. It is caused by alterations in a gene which affects the production of insulin. Some of the most common neonatal diabetes genes are INS or insulin gene, ABCC8, KCNJ11 and 6q24 related diabetes.



1 :: Transient Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (TNDM) – As the name suggests this type of diabetes is known to generally disappear within a year of birth but there are chances that it may return again during adolescence. Transient neonatal diabetes is more common as compared to the permanent type. This type affects around 50 – 60% of cases of neonatal diabetes.

2 :: Permanent Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (PNDM) – As the name suggests, this type of neonatal diabetes mellitus once diagnosed, stays for the entire life, it is permanent.


  • Constant thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Dehydration.


  • Blood Glucose Test – Elevated glucose levels in blood before 6 months of age suggest Neonatal diabetes.
  • Urine Glucose Test – Elevated urine glucose levels before 6 months of age suggest Neonatal diabetes.
  • Genetic testing – This test is recommended to assess the form of diabetes as in few cases; neonatal diabetes can be diagnosed even after 6 months.


Treatment of Neonatal Diabetes

Neonatal Diabetes is a treatable condition. It can either be treated with insulin or an oral drug glibenclamide. Glibenclamide belongs to a class of diabetes drugs which is known as sulfonylureas. Glibenclamide is a drug which causes the pancreas to release more amount of insulin. Most of the patients with neonatal diabetes can be treated with glibenclamide. In case, glibenclamide fails to be effective then, insulin is used.


Effect Of Diabetes On Foetus

Most of the foetus with neonatal diabetes fails to grow adequately in the womb and the newborns are much smaller as compare to those of the same gestational age. After birth few infants do not gain weight as rapidly as compared to other infants of the same age and sex. Few infants also suffer with some developmental delay and epilepsy.


Next Article: Juvenile Diabetes
Previous Article: Gestational Diabetes
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