How can a child get Type 1 Diabetes?
Ninety percent of children who develop type 1 diabetes actually have no relative with the disease. Thanks to studies of families, researchers now can identify at birth when a baby carries some of the genes that indicate risk factors for type 1 diabetes. Certain genes called HLA markers are associated with diabetes risk. If a child is born with such markers, his or her risk of developing type 1 diabetes is about the same as if he or she had a sibling with type 1 diabetes, even though no other family member may have the disease. There are other genes that also create risk for juvenile diabetes that have not yet been identified.
Although the causes of type 1 diabetes are not entirely known, scientists believe the body's own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is not caused by obesity or by eating excessive sugar, which are two common myths about type 1. Both genetics and environmental "triggers" are being studied as potential causes of type 1 diabetes.

According to William Winter, M.D., a professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, "At most, only 15 percent of people with type 1 diabetes have an affected first-degree relative - a sibling, parent, or offspring. Research suggests that genes account for less than half the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. These findings suggest that there are other factors besides genes that influence the development of diabetes."
Warning signs of type 1 diabetes (these may occur suddenly):
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in urine
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor, unconsciousness

How long can a child have type 1 diabetes?
At this point, type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning you never outgrow it. Life expectancy is very difficult to predict -- just as each child is unique so will be their experiences with type 1 diabetes. On average, the current life expectancy of a child with type 1 diabetes is shortened by 7-10 years, but this number has been trending down in recent years with advances in technology and treatment options. The reality is that type 1 diabetes is a difficult disease to manage, but research teams have come a long way and technology is getting better all the time, including popular drugs like metformin, however there are potential metformin side effects especially in younger patients that you should be aware of.

Risk of Complications
High blood sugar levels over a number of years can cause serious damage to the body's organ systems. This damage may cause complications affecting the heart, nerves, kidneys, eyes, and other parts of the body. A number of studies, however, have proven that careful monitoring and control of blood sugar levels greatly reduces the threat of these complications. Researchers are also making progress at developing new diabetes treatments and technologies to help people with diabetes stay healthy. It's important to remember that people with diabetes can lead active and productive lives, just like anyone else.

external image Diabetes.jpg