Signs of diabetes mellitus in infants, causes of congenital ailment and principles of treatment

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Signs of diabetes mellitus in infants, causes of congenital ailment and principles of treatment

Diabetes mellitus in infants is very rare. Moreover, it is diagnosed quite by accident with the development of ketoacidosis or diabetic coma.

One of the pronounced signs, which is very important to pay attention to, is the small weight of a newborn baby who was born earlier than the due date.

Diabetes in these babies is rather difficult, because due to a lack of glycogen in the liver, acidosis appears (an increase in the acidity of the acid-base balance of the body). Another related symptom is an insufficient amount of moisture in the child’s body.

Do not forget that this disease in an infant can contribute to the occurrence of frequent colds, as well as skin lesions, such as dryness, diaper rash, dermatitis, furunculosis, eczema and various congenital hemangiomas. Very often, babies are diagnosed with a significant increase in the liver and cataracts. Why is diabetes mellitus in newborns dangerous?

Factors influencing the development of the disease

At the moment, there are several main reasons that can trigger the onset of diabetes mellitus in children who were born prematurely:

  • taking certain medications during gestation. These medications include various anti-inflammatory and anticancer drugs, which are toxic;
  • the appearance of this disease in infants is due to the presence of malformations of the pancreas or serious damage by viruses to beta cells;
  • in addition, diabetes from birth can develop due to an immature pancreas. As a rule, this applies to those children who are considered premature.


Symptoms that characterize diabetes mellitus in newborns are as follows: 

  • restless baby behavior;
  • the occurrence of symptoms that indicate dehydration (thirst);
  • with a normal appetite, the child does not gain weight;
  • the urine of a newborn is sticky, and also leaves marks on clothes or diapers (so-called “starch stains”);
  • the presence of diaper rash and all kinds of inflammatory processes on the skin;
  • the development of inflammation in the genital area (in boys on the foreskin, and in girls – vulvitis).

In the absence of proper treatment in the second month of life, the baby develops serious signs of intoxication, which may well lead to a coma. In order to diagnose diabetes mellitus, a specialist must conduct an appropriate clinical study.

Congenital diabetes mellitus

This type of disease is type 1 diabetes. It is also called insulin dependent.

Moreover, it is due to the so-called genetic predisposition. With this ailment, the baby’s pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin.

It is because of this that the concentration of sugar in the blood plasma increases, which has a devastating effect on the organs of the excretory system of the newborn, nerve endings, blood vessels and other vital organs.

Those babies with diabetes need injections of the pancreas daily. In addition, the so-called blood sugar control is very important. Parents should monitor this so that the child does not get serious and dangerous complications.

The causes of congenital diabetes are:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • trauma;
  • viral diseases that were transferred by the expectant mother.

Typically, congenital diabetes is diagnosed during childhood.

Moreover, it does not lend itself to therapy at all, but it is quite possible to control it with appropriate injections of insulin daily. This dangerous and serious disease negatively affects all organs.

There are signs of diabetes mellitus in infants such as thirst, rapid weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue, weakness, irritability, and vomiting.

Congenital diabetes can lead to such unforeseen consequences:

  • Since the concentration of sugar in the blood is still very high, the small vessels of the baby’s eyeballs may be damaged. The veins and capillaries of the kidneys are often damaged. Babies who suffer from this type of diabetes have a fairly high risk of developing kidney failure and even complete blindness. Previous studies have shown that a drug called Captopril can be used to completely prevent the damaging effects of diabetes on the organs of the excretory system. It is considered a drug commonly prescribed for hypertension. There is also a possibility that diabetes has a negative effect on blood circulation in the lower extremities, which sooner or later leads to their amputation;
  • in the course of extensive damage to the nervous system, there is a persistent feeling of numbness and pain in the legs;
  • the risk of high blood pressure also increases significantly, as a result of which the accumulation of cholesterol accelerates, which can lead to the development of myocardial infarction and stroke.

If congenital diabetes is not treated, it can lead to irreversible consequences. It is very important if you find the first symptoms in a baby that indicate that he has this disease, immediately consult a pediatrician to find out the circumstances.

Treatment and prevention

If you identify the first signs of diabetes in infants, you should immediately visit a specialist.

Treatment of the disease consists in the introduction of the pancreatic hormone – insulin. This method is called insulin therapy.

It is important to note that breastfeeding is considered a priority, but if it is impossible to breastfeed, the baby is transferred to special mixtures that do not contain glucose. As a rule, the disease can be identified by careful examination of the symptoms.

The first signs of diabetes in infants are characterized by polyuria, which in newborns is seen as bedwetting and polydipsia. It is also worth noting that the concentration of sugar in the blood on an empty stomach and in daily urine in children is high. That is why, in order to determine glucose tolerance, it is necessary to clarify the initial data on the sugar content.

Treatment of diabetes in newborns must necessarily be comprehensive with the use of insulin and diet therapy, which are aimed not only at treating the main ailment, but also at ensuring proper physical development.

But as far as nutrition is concerned, it must necessarily be balanced and consistent with age-specific physiological norms.

Do not forget that the so-called extractive dishes must be completely excluded. As for the need for sugar, during the period of therapy, it should be covered by the consumption of carbohydrates in sufficient quantities. The main source of this nutrient is breast milk. The child must also receive vegetables and fruits. It is important to note that digestible sugars, candies, and fats need to be constantly limited.

In the presence of pronounced ketosis and acetonuria, you must immediately significantly reduce your fat intake, while maintaining a sufficient amount of carbohydrates. Kids need to eat special low-fat cottage cheese, cereals and all kinds of steamed meat dishes.

But as for injections of pancreatic hormone, they need to be done at intervals of eight hours.

In this case, one should not forget to take into account the high sensitivity to insulin. In no case is it recommended to give a child special antidiabetic drugs in infancy.

As for the mandatory preventive measures, it is necessary to immediately establish dispensary observation of a child from those families where there are relatives suffering from diabetes.

The concentration of glucose in both blood and urine should be checked regularly. In addition, it is imperative to completely exclude the use of foods containing sugar (mainly sweets). It is very important to observe those children who were born with a large body weight (more than four kilograms).

In infants who have all the symptoms of prediabetes, special dual-exercise glycemic curves should be examined. The prognosis of treatment with early diagnosis is quite favorable. If the parents carefully monitor the child’s condition, as well as adhere to proper nutrition, diet and proper treatment, then the body will be in order, and the manifestations of the disease will completely disappear.

In some cases, the baby may develop neonatal diabetes mellitus. At the first signs of this disease, it is important to immediately contact your doctor for help.

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