Juvenile diabetes is a common name for type 1 diabetes. It is called juvenile diabetes because this disease usually starts in childhood through late adolescence. The cause of juvenile diabetes is often genetics, but it can be due to exposure to a viral infection. In juvenile diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce insulin. Though juvenile diabetes occurs worldwide, the highest incident rate is in Scandinavia.
Common symptoms of juvenile diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, fatigue, drowsiness, and blurred vision. It can cause tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Breathing can also become labored and have a fruity odor.
Insulin is a hormone needed to metabolize sugar, or glucose, and starches. When insulin production and sensitivity is normal, insulin breaks down the sugar which is then delivered to the body’s cells via the bloodstream. When insulin production is compromised, the level of glucose in the blood rises to unsafe levels.
If left untreated or uncontrolled, serious complications can arise. High glucose levels in the blood increases the risk of certain diseases. Blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease could occur. Poor circulation and nerve damage can cause serious trauma to the feet which can lead to the necessity of amputation.
Treatment of juvenile diabetes consists of monitoring blood sugar levels, administering insulin, and watchfulness of the onset of any complications. Blood sugar levels are checked periodically throughout the day with the use of a blood glucose monitor.
Injections of insulin are commonly a crucial part of treatment for juvenile diabetes. An insulin pump may be used instead of individual injections of insulin. An insulin pump can help stabilize blood sugar level better than injections since it provides a constant base level of insulin. After meals, the diabetic programs the dose of insulin into the pump.