Can Diabetes Affect a Child's Weight?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 21, 2012

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Can Diabetes Affect a Childs Weight

Diabetes is a lifetime disease that attacks people irrespective of age. Over the years, reported cases of diabetic children and adolescents have been increasing at a rapid rate. Diabetes has several complications; sudden weight loss is one of them.

Weight and Diabetes

  • A youngster may have a healthy appetite, but still lose weight.
  • There could be several instances when the child feels extremely hungry, but undergoes a decrease in weight at the same rate.
  • Changes in weight occur as the body breaks down the muscle and excess fat to fulfill the energy requirement of the weak cells.

Diabetes in Children

  • Diabetes develops as a result of abnormal levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. Inadequate sugar level in the blood disrupts the supply of energy to several parts of the affected child’s body; body’s insulin production also gets disrupted.
  • Glucose is not used effectively by the body and stays in the bloodstream.
  • Usually, Type 1 diabetes mellitus affects children and adolescents. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas loses the capability to produce insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus is rare in children. In this condition, the body does not utilise the insulin produced.
  • Among common signs of diabetes in children include sudden weight loss, yeast infections, unusual hunger, blurred vision, slow-healing, extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue,  urinary tract infections and tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Youngsters with type 1 diabetes may experience dehydration, lethargy, abdominal pain and skin rashes quite frequently.
  • Development of acanthosis nigricans- thick area of skin that folds around the neck-is another sign of diabetes in children.
  • Besides causing weight loss, extra glucose in the bloodstream may damage kidneys, eyes and nerves.

Management of Diabetes in Children

  • Prevention and treatment options for diabetic children are almost similar to those used in the treatment of diabetic adults and adolescents.
  • Replacement of insulin is the foremost step to prevent worsening of diabetic complications.
  • A requisite diet plan or dietary changes prevent the onset of diabetes in children.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight is another prerequisite. Dietary modification also helps to manage weight loss.
  • Keeping track of blood sugar levels frequently and ascertaining that sugar levels remain within the normal range is quintessential.
  • A health care provider may recommend insulin pump if there is a disparity in the child's blood-glucose level and the normal level. Insulin pump delivers a requisite amount of insulin through a catheter to the abdomen to ensure healthy being of a diabetic child.


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