Insulin-dependent, or juvenile-onset, diabetes is often caused by genetic factors. Normally, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which enables the glucose (blood sugar derived from food) to enter cells where it’s burned as energy or stored for future use. When the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, the body can’t use the blood sugar. The unused blood sugar is then lost through urination. Left untreated, coma and eventually death may occur. Juvenile diabetes usually strikes before the age of 20.
KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- frequent urination (as often as every hour)
- white spots (glucose-filled urine) on underwear
- frequent bladder infections
- constant thirst
- fatigue, weakness
- sudden weight loss
- tingling in hands and feet
- skin infections
- nausea and vomiting
To treat juvenile diabetes, daily injections of insulin are needed. A diet low in fat, regular exercise and careful monitoring of blood glucose levels , are also necessary.