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Diabetes In Children

The Long-Term Outlook

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 18:10

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

If diabetes isn't well controlled, over the years it can lead to a risk of other problems, such as:

  • Kidney trouble
  • Heart disease
  • Damage to the eyes
  • Problems in the nerves, especially those affecting the feet

Although these complications aren't likely to cause problems until adulthood, damage to blood vessels and organs can start before that if blood sugar levels are allowed to be consistently high.

Good News

Recent studies of teenagers and young adults have shown that those who kept their blood sugar under control had about 60% fewer complications at the end of a 10-year period. This news should motivate older children to work extra hard at keeping blood sugar as close to normal as possible.

The Future

Research is underway to:

  • Develop new forms of insulin that better mimic the natural sort
  • Find ways to give insulin by inhaler instead of by injection
  • Find alternatives to insulin - specifically, substitutes which could be given in patch or pill form
  • Find a way to monitor blood sugar continuously without finger sticks, so that a pump could be programmed to supply insulin as needed
  • Transplant pancreases or the cells from the pancreas that make insulin.

Although it may be many years before any really new methods of treatment are available, improvements in treatment methods are likely to become available during your child's lifetime. So, encourage your child to stay in the best shape possible, so that he or she can take advantage of treatment advances as they come along.

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