A cause for concern…. Juvenile Diabetes

Juvenile DiabetesJuvenile diabetes is on the rise and being aware of the symptoms is paramount for parents and caregivers. HEALTH takes a closer look…

Juvenile diabetes, tells Dr. Hasmukh Gala, HOD, Specialist A, and NICU in Pediatrics at GMC hospital, Ajman, is also known as type 1 diabetes or Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). “This is a disease in which a patient produces very little or no insulin causing hyperglycemia and related complications,” he says. “Juvenile diabetes manifests in a younger age group, generally below the age of 25 years.” The peak incidence is in the age group 10 to 14 years, but it can occur at any age including infants and young children. “About 90 percent of diabetes cases in the below 25 years age are type 1 diabetes,” tells Dr. Gala though Juvenile diabetes can be present in a newborn baby at birth, but it is extremely rare.

Difference between Diabetes Type 2

As opposed to type 2 diabetes occurring in older individual, Dr. Gala explains that juvenile diabetes generally does not occur due to lifestyle factors like unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. “Many a times a child with juvenile diabetes is lean and thin,” he says and on the contrary, the obese kids are at risk of developing type 2 or maturity onset diabetes. In fact, adult onset diabetes is now more and more commonly found to occur in the younger age group including in children, particularly those individuals who follow unhealthy lifestyles.


  1. Polyuria- means increase in urination
  2. Polydipsia- means increase in thirst
  3. Polyphagia- means increase in hunger
  4. Dehydration
  5. Weight loss
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Blurring of vision
  8. Diabetic Ketoacidosis in severe cases- wherein there is built up of acids in the blood causing person to breathe deeply and heavily and many a times causing coma or unconsciousness.


According to Dr. Gala, the main treatment of juvenile diabetes is insulin therapy. These individual requires lifelong administration of insulin injection, which is typically administered two to three times a day according to the meal size. Regular consultation with dietician is also required to prepare specific diet plan for the individual suffering from type 1 or juvenile diabetes. The diet generally is low fat and low to moderate carbohydrate containing diet. In addition, as these individuals are prone to develop complications affecting their kidney, vision, heart and nervous system, consultation and co-ordination with different specialties are also required.

Meal Tips for Individuals Living With Juvenile Diabetes

  1. Eat three meals a day. Avoid skipping meals and space out your breakfast, lunch and evening meal over the day.
  2. At each meal include starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, yam, noodles, rice and cereals.These foods also have low glycemic index, which means blood glucose rise is gradual and blood sugar levels are maintained for a prolonged time. This in turn leads to better control of blood sugar.
  3. Cut down on the fat you eat, particularly saturated fats such as butter and cheese, as a low fat diet benefits health.Choose unsaturated fats or oils, especially monounsaturated fat such as olive oil and rapeseed oil as these types of fats are better for your heart.
  4. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Aim for at least five portions a day to provide you with vitamins, minerals and fiber to help you balance your overall diet.
  5. Limit sugar and sugary foods.These are table sugar, sugary drinks, jam, and chocolates. These are high glycemic index food, which means blood sugar can rise rapidly to high levels. This does not mean you need to eat a sugar-free diet. Sugar can be used in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet.
  6. Include more beans and lentils such as kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas or red and green lentils.These have less of an effect on your blood glucose levels and may help to control your blood fats.
  7. Reduce salt in your diet to 6 grams or less a day – more than this can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart disease.Limit the amount of processed foods you eat (as they are high in salt).

(Credit: Dr. Hasmukh Gala)

Previous Post
Next Post

Related Articles