Complications of diabetes in children: is the risk high?

What is diabetes?

This is a disease that is characterized by chronic high blood sugar levels, which leads to impaired carbohydrate metabolism. This violation entails a violation of both protein and fat metabolism.

Disorders of glucose metabolism occur either due to a lack of the hormone insulin, or due to insulin resistance. A combination of these pathological processes can also be observed, and there are also more rare genetic pathologies in which glucose metabolism is disturbed. The most common diabetes of the first and second types.

Chronic elevation of blood sugar can not proceed without a trace. Target organs begin to suffer. With diabetes mellitus, complications often occur. What complications develop, how quickly, and how pronounced they will be, depends on many factors. The main one is the commitment of the patient to treatment and compliance with medical recommendations.

Diabetes in children and adolescents: the statistics are not happy

Sugar   diabetes   Type 1 refers to one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. It occurs in about 1 in 350 children under the age of 18 years. There is an increase in the incidence of diabetes, especially in children under 5 years of age. The disease can begin at any age, but if we talk about children, then the debut of the disease is often determined at 4-6 and 10-14 years. Type 1 diabetes occurs in two thirds of all children with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes was rarely seen in children before, but now it is becoming more common. Scientists have established a link between the onset of type 2 diabetes and an increase in the incidence of childhood obesity. Basically, the disease begins in adolescence, after puberty.

Experts of the World Health Organization give disappointing forecasts: according to their calculations, by 2025 the number of patients with diabetes will increase to 300 million. Basically, this number will increase due to patients with type 2 diabetes, because it accounts for 80-90% of patients.

Complications of diabetes in children and adolescents

Specific complications of the disease include the following pathologies:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – a retinal vascular lesion.

When retinopathy occurs, not just a decrease in vision, it can be broken down to blindness due to retinal detachment. The development of secondary glaucoma is also possible. To save eyesight with retinopathy can only be the operation of laser coagulation of retinal vessels. More often the complication is registered in patients with type 1 diabetes.

5 years after the diagnosis of diabetes, each patient should begin to be regularly examined by an ophthalmologist. Need a fundus examination. This is a simple study. It helps to recognize the disease at a very early stage.

After 10 years of the disease, retinopathy can already be detected in 60% of patients. After 30 years from the debut of the disease, these or other retinal lesions are found in almost every patient.

  • Diabetic nephropathy – kidney damage.

The tubular apparatus of the kidneys and glomeruli suffers . These disorders can lead to progressive chronic renal failure. After many years, the patient may require hemodialysis and even kidney transplantation.

From the onset of nephropathy to the development of chronic renal failure, it usually takes at least 10 years, which is why in adults this serious complication is recorded much more often. Most of these patients are noted among those who suffer from type 1 diabetes. Among patients with type 2 diabetes, as the disease progresses, renal failure develops in 20–30% of cases.

  • Diabetic neuropathy – neurological disorders.

Patients are worried about complaints such as impaired sensitivity, numbness in the limbs, pain, paresthesia, poor exercise tolerance, impaired stool and urination.

All of the above violations are due to microvascular disorders due to improper glucose metabolism. In patients with diabetes mellitus, there is a violation of microcirculation, pathological processes in the blood coagulation system, a change in vascular permeability, a decrease in antioxidant protection.

Data on the frequency of occurrence of this complication vary. In type 1 diabetes, neurological complications occur in 13–54% of patients. With type 2 diabetes – in 17-45%. Basically, these complications are recorded in adults or in adolescents during the early debut of the disease.

What are the risk factors for diabetes complications?

Over the years of the study of diabetes in children and adolescents, the following risk factors for the development of complications have been highlighted:

  • Long duration of illness (the longer the disease, the higher the risk of complications);
  • Burdened heredity of diabetes and the development of its complications;
  • Older children and adolescence by itself;
  • Smoking;
  • Arterial hypertension;
  • Sedentary lifestyle;
  • Overweight;

How to prevent complications?

Can diabetes be done without complications? It is impossible to predict in advance, but you need to exert maximum efforts to reduce their risk and postpone the occurrence to a later date if complications cannot be completely avoided. How can you help your child with diabetes?

  • Regularly observed by an endocrinologist and follow his recommendations;
  • To study at the School of Diabetes, both for the child and for the parents, to regularly replenish their knowledge of the disease, to use this knowledge in practice;
  • To teach a child self-control over diabetes;
  • Not only take designated   drugs, but also regularly carry out treatment correction together with an endocrinologist;
  • Follow the prescribed diet;
  • Explain to the child the importance of regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, encourage his desire to be active, prevent the formation of children and   teenagers   bad habits;
  • Visit specialists to timely monitor the occurrence of diabetes complications and prescribe treatment if necessary.

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