Does type 1 diabetes affect children differently than adults?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The onset of type 1 diabetes occurs much more frequently in children and young adults. In fact, type 1 diabetes has also been referred to as juvenile diabetes. However, children and adults experience the same signs and symptoms of this condition, such as excessive thirst, urination, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, moodiness and blurred vision. In infants and very young children, the first signs of type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that results in a very serious diaper rash, listlessness and dehydration.

As children grow older, their treatment plans need to be altered accordingly. Children may have a hard time accepting diabetes emotionally. Teens may forgo their treatment in the interest of fitting in with their peers. They may turn to alcohol and substance abuse, which makes it all the more difficult to manage their blood sugar levels. Children and adolescents can benefit from support groups and counselors so that they feel less isolated.

Type 1 diabetes doesn't really affect children differently than adults. Children tend to have more changing of their blood sugar levels so their insulin dosage may change. As they grow and get bigger, their insulin dose will change. Also, children are more likely to develop acid in their blood if their blood sugar level gets too high. But it is still a matter of adjusting insulin to keep blood sugar under control.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.