If you are a young, non diabetic this maybe the most important thing you ever read. If you are anything like me, you would have absolutely no idea what juvenile diabetes symptoms are, or what they look like. Rest assured if you have a little bit of information it could literally save your life.
Diabetes is sometimes referred to as the silent killer because you can go about your everyday life being diabetic without even knowing it. There are a few common juvenile diabetes symptoms that if younger people were aware of, would give them time to act to prevent a lifetime of needles and blood tests.
I wish I had have known what juvenile diabetes symptoms are…
If I knew what I know now there is no way I would have ever become a diabetic in the first place. I had no idea that waking up going to the bathroom many times in the night was a warning sign. I had no idea that losing weight without a good reason was also a big warning sign. I did not think to ask any questions when I found myself with an insatiable thirst. As you can probably guess these are all very common juvenile diabetes symptoms.
What is juvenile diabetes?
Type 1 or juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease that does not discriminate in terms of who it attacks. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to be overweight or inactive or have a diet very high in sugar for it to affect you. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks itself. This results in the beta cells in your pancreas being destroyed and permanently prevents your bodies ability to create insulin. Insulin is what coverts sugar into energy for your cells to absorb. Without insulin your body can not process food properly, particularly sugar and carbohydrates.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs in many young children across the globe. At least 90% of diabetes that are found in children is type 1 diabetes. Overall type 1 diabetes represents around 10% of all cases of diabetes.Unfortunately type 1 or juvenile diabetes is a lifelong condition, however there is a spate of new technology, a lot of this technology may hold the key to a cure. Medical professionals are getting closer and closer to finding a cure, in fact I believe this will happen in my lifetime.
Complications of juvenile diabetes
Type 1 diabetes carries the risk of complications down the line. It is important to note that these complications are only brought into focus should and if your blood sugar levels are poorly managed. Unfortunately there are so many parts of the body that diabetes affects and there is always evidence of new parts of the body that it affects. Medical professionals have only just begun researching the effect high blood sugar can have on certain organs or senses eg hearing loss. The main known complications include –
- Eye disease including diabetic retinopathy. Here are two blog posts to read regarding eye disease. The first is on the types of problems that affect the eyes the second on the best way to protect your vision
- Diabetic kidney disease. Please see my blog post on this issue
- Liver disease. Please see my blog post on this ailment
- Heart disease and stroke is said to be up to 3 times more common in diabetics. Another blog post on strokes
Go for a check-up regularly
Regular check-ups are essential if you have diabetes. The main checks you will need to have include –
- HbA1c – your average blood sugar level. A check should happen every 3 or 4 months
- Eyes – with an optometrist once every year
- Blood pressure – it’s wise to have this checked on every visit to the doctor
- Cholesterol – at least once or twice every year
- Kidneys – every year
- Feet – you can check this yourself or with a friend or family member. Please see my blog post on diabetes and foot problems,
- Teeth and gums – twice a year at the dentist.
Juvenile diabetes symptoms
The good news is that if you know which symptoms to look for they should be glaringly obvious when they strike. Also note that they will strike suddenly. It is imperative that you seek medical attention and advice if you see some of these symptoms. Your doctor will most likely send you for a blood test straight away. During this period you should drink plenty of water while avoiding or limiting your intake of carbs and sugar. The faster you act, the more chance you will have of preventing full blown type 1 diabetes.
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- An insatiable thirst
- Constant urination especially at night
- Burred vision
- Constant hunger
- Extreme tiredness
- Open wounds or infections not healing in a timely fashion
- Nausea and or vomiting
- Fruity or very sweet smelling breath
Depression in young people with type 1 diabetes
Soon after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I was feeling very negative about the situation, so much so that my diabetes doctor diagnosed a mild form of depression. This was something he saw a lot in young people after they were first diagnosed with the disease. My doctor put me on some prescription drugs although I did not find that they helped very much, in fact I had some negative reactions to the drug.
All told I realised that it was my state of mind that was working against me. Everything is a choice in life including how you look at situations. There is an old quote when you change the way you look at thing the things you look at begin to change. I realised that it was not a death sentence, in fact if I focused on the positives, getting diabetes could get me to change my lifestyle so that I could begin eating healthier and exercising more.
I soon realised that if my blood sugars were managed properly it would not prevent me from leading a normal, healthy, happy life. I looked at having diabetes as nothing more than an inconvenience. The inconvenience of having to check my blood sugar levels several times a day and getting used to needles. I made a pact that I would do a better job managing my blood sugar levels than my pancreas ever did. A lofty goal and one that I have never been able to quite emulate :oD. I have also used my experience to educate others, hence writing this blog.
Managing type 1 diabetes can seem daunting
Having juvenile diabetes can seem like a full time job early on. It can be hard and it can be frustrating but it is all a matter of getting into a new routine and forming some new habits. Some people experience “diabetes burnout” and then start to neglect the management of thei condition. This is very dangerous and can lead to an early onset of some of the complications listed above.
If you are finding that managing your blood sugar levels is difficult and frustrating reach out to your doctor or diabetes educator. You can even start by leaving me a message on my blog. I will do my best to inspire and motivate you. As I said it is mainly about forming new habits. I have been managing my type 1 diabetes for so long now that it is like second nature to me.
The bottom line is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you need to talk anything over, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Juvenile diabetes symptoms are very obvious so reading the above list of symptoms should be essential for young people and parents. They can strike very suddenly and will be very obvious if you know what to look for. Early prevention is imperative.
If you are showing signs of any or some of the above symptoms you need to seek medical advice ASAP. Explain the situation to your doctor and they should send you for an emergency blood test. During this period you should drink plenty of water while avoiding or limiting your intake of carbs and sugar. With any luck your blood test will come back negative or at worst you will have caught the disease early and be able to take steps to reverse the condition.
Please get in touch with me if you have or know someone who has type 1 diabetes.