It is a common misconception amongst many that diabetes affects the adult and elderly sections of the population only. Did you know that a staggering number of teenagers and adolescents are battling with diabetes and several other lifestyle related disorders due to faulty eating habits and sedentary lifestyles?
An alarming trend being observed in well-to-do families and the developed countries, relying heavily on fast foods or junk foods to satisfy children’s hunger pangs will invariably lead to an elevated blood glucose level in the body. This leads to Type II diabetes and is the most prevalent type of diabetes to affect large sections of the society.
In some cases, adolescents might suffer from diabetes that is inherited since birth due to faulty secretion of insulin by the pancreatic cells. This type of diabetes is generally referred to as Type I diabetes and becomes a life long problem to deal with.
Irrespective of the type of diabetes that has developed, looking out for certain important symptoms is always useful in dealing with this disorder in an effective manner.
Five Important Symptoms of Diabetes in Adolescents
Sudden Weight Loss
A drastic loss in weight should be cause of concern for people of all age groups. This symptom should be treated with utmost and immediate precautionary measures if seen in adolescents, in particular. Adolescence is a stage for the body to lay down foundations for proper muscular formation and tissue growth in boys and girls. Therefore, a sudden loss in weight should be a huge health concern. More often than not, parents and adolescents attribute a sudden loss in weight to faulty eating habits or lack of eating proper foods.
In some cases, girls might take this symptom as a positive sign due to their distorted outlook of looking ‘fashionable’ when ‘thin’. In diabetes, there is an improper utilization of carbohydrates and proteins. This will deprive the cells and tissues in the body of essential glucose molecules which provide energy required for growth and development. Weight loss and muscle wasting become immediate side effects.
This is an immediate after effect of improper carbohydrate utilization. When there is a deficit in production of insulin molecules or an increased resistance to insulin molecules, glucose molecules are not converted into energy. A lack of energy automatically makes the affected child hungry, lethargic, weak and tired.
Because there is an increase in the amount of blood glucose molecules circulating in the blood stream due to decreased rates of conversion, the body tries to dilute the rising concentration in blood sugar levels.
The body does so by drawing out water from the cells and providing them to the circulatory system for effective dilution. This will make the cells parched and dehydrated, in turn making the affected adolescent feel extremely thirsty.
This occurs as an automatic side effect of excessive thirst. In order to satiate the thirst stimuli, the affected child will start drinking lots of water, more than what is necessary for the body. This will lead to increased expulsion of fluids outside the body, leading to increased urination. When this continues on a prolonged basis, the kidneys will get overworked, leading to secondary organ complications. Waking up at night to relieve oneself at an alarmingly frequent basis should be an immediate cause of concern.
Delayed wound healing, lethargy, blurred vision, tiredness, vaginal infections and irregular menstruation could also indicate the possibility of diabetic attack in adolescents.