Type 1 diabetes in children: everything you need to know

Type 1 diabetes in children: everything you need to know

Type 1 diabetes in children is an ever-growing issue, so in this Diabetes Week, we take a look into the facts and figures behind this serious condition.

Type 1 diabetes in children is a concern across Europe, with the number of cases among 0-14-year-olds in 2015 being 140,00 and an estimated 21,600 being newly diagnosed each year.

According to the World Diabetes Foundation, Europe has the highest number of children with Type 1 diabetes compared with other International Diabetes Federation (IDF) regions.

The European countries making the largest contribution to the overall numbers of Type 1 diabetes in children are:

  • The United Kingdom;
  • The Russian Federation; and
  • Germany.

How can you spot Type 1 diabetes?

During Diabetes Week, health professionals are making the public aware of all the warning signs related to a potential case of the condition, advising parents to get their children checked.

There are several common symptoms which may gave early warning signs of Type 1 diabetes, which are:

  • Persistent thirst;
  • Tiredness (lethargy);
  • Weight loss; and
  • Frequent urination.

Other symptoms which are common amongst children include stomach pains, headaches and behavioural problems.

If a child is presenting with any or a combination of these symptoms, then they should be taken to be checked over by their GP.

Once a correct diagnosis is made, it’s paramount that sugar levels are well-controlled over a prolonged period of time, otherwise it can result in disabling and even life-threatening outcomes.

How do you treat the condition?

As reported on the Mayo Clinic: ‘Treatment for Type 1 diabetes is lifelong and includes blood sugar monitoring, insulin therapy, healthy eating and regular exercise — even for kids. As your child grows and changes, so will his or her diabetes treatment plan.’

Insulin is vital for the treatment of diabetes and there are many different types of insulin available, including:

  • Rapid-acting insulin – Insulin therapies such as lispro (Humalog), aspart (NovoLog) and glulisine (Apidra) start working within 15 minutes, peak in about one hour and last four hours;
  • Short-acting insulin – Therapies such as human insulin (Humulin R) should be injected 20-30 minutes before a meal, peak in 1.5 to two hours and last four to six hours;
  • Intermediate-acting insulin – Therapies such as NPH insulin (Humulin N) start working within about one hour, peak in about six hours and last 12-24 hours; and
  • Long-acting insulin – Therapies such as insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin detemir (Levemir) have almost no peak and may provide coverage for as long as 20-26 hours.

The Mayo Clinic added: “Depending on your child’s age and needs, your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night.”


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