What Causes Type 1 Diabetes in Children?

Diabetes itself is a major setback to a person’s health. But when happens to children, it’s altogether another long story of pain, anguish, and sadness. But what causes type 1 diabetes in children? Read on to find out.

What Causes Type 1 Diabetes in Children?

Type 1 diabetes in children is an autoimmune disease, present or we can say the individual has this disorder by birth. This condition leads to the destruction of the beta cell, which in turn causes an insufficient supply of the hormone called insulin.

The lower production of insulin leads to the condition called hyperglycemia. The hormone insulin helps in blood sugar control.

The low level of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels in the body. That is why insulin is a very important hormone to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that requires insulin replacement and intensive efforts by the individual. Insulin therapy is prescribed for type 1 diabetic patients.

Treatment is generated to decrease hyperglycemia while at the same time minimizing the risk of hypoglycemia. The complex mechanism of glucose is affected very much by food, lifestyle, and body stress as well as exercise.


  1. Contrast the etiologies of type 2 and type 1 diabetes management.

  2. Contrast the various risk factors for the development of diabetes mellitus.

  3. How the management of type 1 also called diabetes mellitus differs in adults and children

  4. Importance of improving coordination between the interprofessional team.

To enhance care for children who are affected by type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 Diabetes in Children

It happens when there is autoimmune destruction of the beta cell of the pancreatic islets which leads to the insufficient production of the hormone called insulin and results in a condition which is called hyperglycemia.

Type 1 diabetes in children is a chronic disease that requires intensive efforts on the part of the individual with diabetes.

The first focus is to reduce the condition of hyperglycemia while also managing the condition of hypoglycemia. The balance of glucose is very much affected by the individual lifestyle.

The child having Diabetes Mellitus has some family history of this disease. The child having this disorder has to go through multiple daily injections to prevent serious complications. And for healthy living. For the child healthy living, he/she has to have a very controlled and designed lifestyle.

Diabetic type 1 is a result of both environmental and genetic factors. It is the autoimmune reaction of the body which leads to the destruction of cells of its own body.

In the HLA cell line when observed, it is found that only 30% to 40% of factors are related to genetics while more than 50% of genes have been found through individual genes and genome-wide association.

A triggering result is suspected to start or initiate the recruits antigen-presenting cells to transport to the cell, beta cells self-antigen to start the autoreactive T cells.

Because of the failure of self-tolerance, these T cells state beta-cells killing and causing inflammation leading to insulinogenic and another type of diabetes called symptomatically.

This has different stages The first one is called Stage 1: which refers to the presence of beta-cell autoimmunity, but it has normal glucose monitoring, Stage 2 refers to the stage in which abnormal glucose handling but no overt symptoms were found and the last and final stage is the stage 3.

Which refers to the clinically apparent symptoms of insulinogenic. Children with this stage are at a very increased risk of heart disease.

The children have to be on high medication to prevent complications. The medical care of such children is very difficult and challenging. 

Along with medication some environmental factors also play a very vital role. With growing age, such children are given adolescent health care along with other necessary things, regular urine tests are among them.

Diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in children

Various tests will help to diagnose type 1 diabetes in children. These include:

1. Glycated Hemoglobin Test

It is also known as the A1C test. This test will tell the average blood sugar level from the last three months. It will also check the percentage of blood sugar which will attach to the hemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying protein of RBC (Red Blood Cells).

The more the level of blood sugar the higher the amount of hemoglobin that will have to attach to the sugar. 

Some conditions will make the test inappropriate for an individual and the test will give false-negative results. These conditions are the uncommon form of hemoglobin 1or in the common term, we can call it a different hemoglobin variant.

2. Random Blood Sugar Test

In this test, the blood sample is taken at a random period. And the results are confirmed after many tests. The units in which blood glucose level is determined are mg/dl and mmol/l.

The test will be performed when the child is showing some symptoms like extreme thirst, weight loss, and frequent urination.

3. Fasting Blood Sugar Test

In this test, the sample is collected after the overnight fast. If the test shows that the level of blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dl then the child is not suffering from type 1 diabetes.

But if the blood glucose level is more than 100 mg/dl then the child needs medical help as he/she is suffering from type 1 diabetes.

Things to do After Diagnosis

Take the doctor’s appointments regularly. The doctor will make a proper report of increment and decrement of the blood glucose level after or before the medications.

The doctor will tell about proper diabetes management. Medications are given based on several factors like age, and weight.

Along with this, the doctor will also go for the proper urine test as well for check the level of cholesterol. The doctor will also check the proper functioning of the kidney, liver, and thyroid gland.

Celiac Disease Control

This is the only way to manage the symptoms of celiac disease and diabetes mellitus is a type of disease. The meaning of this is to follow a strict gluten-free diet or food without gluten helps to heal the small intestine and stop future inflammation and problems.

Following this helps in reducing health complications of diabetes in children. Too much sugar is to be avoided by such children.

Blood sugar levels and blood tests should be done at a particular interval of time as suggested by the doctors.

History and Physical

At present children have a history of polydipsia 2and poluria with weight loss for days to months to years. If there is a delay in the diagnosis there may be lethargy, vomiting, and altered mental status.

Insulin management is typically coordinated by a pediatric endocrinologist every quarter.

Such children will present with Ketoacidosis that is associated with the features mentioned below:

  • Ketones smell

  • Dehydration

  • Pain in the Abdominal area

  • Kussmaul breathing

  • vomiting

  • coma

  • Mental altered status


To avoid diabetes complications in children evaluation is required. Evaluation includes blood pressure monitoring and high blood glucose monitoring.

Proper evaluation of insulin reaction in the body. Also, regular monitoring of the diabetes symptoms, whether they are increasing and decreasing or if there is any improvement in them.

Proper insulin doses should be given to children having this disease. Monitoring of the beta-cells which are insulin-producing cells should be done.

These things have to be evaluated at regular intervals to prevent serious complications in the patient. The children having this disorder have automated insulin delivery devices so, that they can be used in the time of emergency.

Immune System Attacks

In Type 1 diabetes in children, their immune system attacks their immune system by killing the insulin-producing cells Beta-cells.

These cells help in regulating blood sugar levels. high as well as low blood sugar is harmful to the individual. Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin3-dependent diabetes.

In this insulin is produced less by the cells and as a result high blood sugar levels or high blood glucose levels are present which causes a condition called hyperglycemia. The condition called hypoglycemia in this low blood sugar is present in the blood vessels.

Blood glucose level plays a significant role in the metabolism of the life cycle. Blood glucose levels can alter many metabolic reactions. Blood sugar levels have a particular range in normal human beings or normal individuals.

What is the Need for Blood Sugar Level

The blood sugar level is very important in the individual life cycle, as some muscles only take energy in the form of glucose.

If the sugar level is low or the blood sugar level is very high then those organs will not work properly. That is why maintaining blood sugar is very important.

For children, the normal blood sugar level is 70 to 140 mg/dl.

The brain and skeletal muscles are the muscles that only take energy from glucose levels. If blood glucose levels are not normal then these muscles may collapse.

Hence maintaining and monitoring the regular blood glucose level. High blood sugar can damage these muscles which also, leads to paralysis. Therefore, optimum blood sugar is very important for everyone.

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Photo by MedicAlert UK on Unsplash

Insulin is the hormone that usually regulates the blood glucose4 in the body, It is the only hormone used to fulfill the demand for blood glucose. It becomes very important to maintain a balanced blood glucose level for the patient having diabetes.

Patients having diabetes have to take insulin injections to maintain the glucose level in the blood, and they must carry the insulin pump with them to avoid a serious condition.


Insulin helps the body to convert food into energy, but when you have diabetes, you are not either not producing enough insulin or your insulin function is off. Producing enough insulin is very important for the body if enough insulin is not produced then the food is not converted into energy.

In type 1 diabetes in children, the insulin-producing cells are attacked by their immune system. Such patients or children also have the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.

This type of type 1 diabetes found in children is also called juvenile diabetes and type 1 diabetes is also very common in young adults.

Children with type 1 diabetes have regular blood sugar monitoring along with regular blood tests. If very high blood sugar is found then the gluten-free diet is referred.

If average blood sugar levels are found then the treatment is moved forward with the same medication which is given to the particular patient, but a continuous glucose monitor is required. Type 1 diabetic patients are generally not able to produce insulin, in that case, insulin pumps are preferred.

It is advised by doctors to take a healthy diet. A healthy diet should be included in the lifestyle.

American Diabetes Association

ADA American diabetes association is a US-based nonprofit that helps to educate the public about diabetes, both type 1 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.

They also educate people about diabetes management, as diabetes 5management is very important for people having diabetes. 

It is a network of around 565,000 volunteers which includes 20,000 healthcare professionals and other staff members. The healthy range of blood glucose is between 140 mg/dl.

Treatment of Type 1 diabetes

Many treatments are provided to the child in the case when the blood glucose level of the child is high. They are as follows:

  • The proper dose of insulin is given to the child before eating the food.

  • The child is supposed to eat only healthy food. Food that contains oil and more spices is banned for the child.

  • The sweets are not supposed to be given to the child.

  • Maintain the proper protein, fat, and carbohydrate count which will also help in treatment.

  • The blood glucose level is frequently monitored.

  • The child is supposed to do proper exercise and physical activities daily and has to maintain proper body weight.

Types of Insulin Used in Treatment

There are four types of insulin which are used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The types of insulin are:

1. Short-acting insulin

It is also known as regular or soluble insulin. It is also known as neutral insulin as well. Its onset of action is 30 min.

Its peak remains for one to three hours and its duration is 4-8 hours. We have to inject it around 15-20 minutes before the meal.

2. Rapid Acting Insulin for Treating Diabetes in Children

Its onset of action is 5-15 min, peak remains for 30-60 minutes, and duration is 2-5 hours. It should be injected before starting to eat the food.

3. Intermediate Acting Insulin

Its onset of action is of 1-2 hours, its peak remains for 4-8 hours and its duration is 8-12 hours.

4. Long-Acting Insulin

Its onset of action is 30-60 min and its duration is 16-24 hours.

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Photo by GRANAT on Unsplash

Conclusion: Diabetes in Children

Diabetes is a disease in which a particular hormone level increases or decreases, the hormone here which is responsible is insulin.

In type 1 diabetes the insulin-producing cells are attacked by their immune system and are destroyed which results in the very low or not at all production of insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the blood glucose level in the body of the individual. Insulin also helps in the conversion of food to energy, mainly glucose, and some muscles in our body only take energy from the glucose, they can not take energy from any other means.

As per the data given by Statista, around 652 thousand children are suffering from type 1 diabetes across the world.

In type 1 diabetes the cells for this hormone are attacked by our immune system only and as a result, the insulin level in the body gets decreased, Those people or those children who have type 1 diabetes have to take regular injections of insulin to maintain its level in the body.

The children having type 1 diabetes have a special diabetes team they are specially trained for this thing only. Patient having type 1 diabetes has to be very cautious and they have to be kept safe from any other diseases or viral infections.

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Priyanshi Sharma

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