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Diabetes mellitus type 1 in Child
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Diabetes mellitus type 1 in Child

Contributors: David Brodell MD, Paritosh Prasad MD, Eric Ingerowski MD, FAAP
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a chronic disease of insulin deficiency resulting in hyperglycemia. In the vast majority of cases, insulin deficiency follows immune-mediated destruction of pancreatic beta cells, resulting in underproduction of insulin and subsequent hyperglycemia. It most commonly presents in childhood (5-7 years of age) or adolescence but can present at any age. Of note, a significant number of cases of T1DM are diagnosed in adults. Diabetes manifests only after the destruction of a majority of pancreatic beta cells.

Patients with clinical T1DM often present with hyperglycemia, polyuria, and polydipsia as well as possible weight loss, fatigue, nocturnal enuresis, and blurry vision. Patients may show signs of a concurrent infectious illness such as a cough, fever, or other symptoms. T1DM patients may present with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a state of severe dehydration and acidemia due to insulin deficiency. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, emesis, inattention, confusion, and even coma in the setting of hyperglycemia and elevated anion gap. DKA is often associated with compensatory hyperventilation (Kussmaul respiration) in the setting of primary metabolic acidosis, with a fruity breath odor resulting from ketones created by fat breakdown.

The pathogenesis appears to be rooted in a genetic component that interacts with an environmental insult in most cases. The incidence of T1DM has been increasing in the United States over the last several decades, with 2-3 new cases per 10 000 person years. There have been several reports about increased incidence of T1DM following acute COVID-19 infections.

Genetic risks (HLA haplotype and other identified genes) for T1DM account for almost 40%-50% of cases. The anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody teplizumab-mzwv is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to delay the onset of clinical T1DM for genetic high-risk patients aged 8 years and older.

Related topics: bullosis diabeticorum, diabetes mellitus type 2, diabetic dermopathy, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic vulvitis, maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), neurogenic ulcer


E10.9 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus without complications

46635009 – Diabetes Mellitus Type I

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Last Reviewed:02/09/2022
Last Updated:01/02/2023
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Patient Information for Diabetes mellitus type 1 in Child
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Contributors: Medical staff writer


Type 1 diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a condition of too little or no insulin production by the pancreas, and excessive sugar buildup (hyperglycemia) in the bloodstream. Insulin is needed for the body to use food nutrients and sugar as fuel. Without enough insulin, sugar accumulates in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition.

Who’s At Risk

  • Type1 diabetes runs in the family. If you have a close relative with type 1 diabetes, you may have a greater chance of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • The farther from the equator, the more patients with type 1 diabetes there are. Finland and Scandinavia have the highest incidences of type 1 diabetes.
  • The most common ages of onset are 4-7 years old, and again 10-14 years old, but it can be diagnosed at any age.

Signs & Symptoms

Common symptoms of type 1 diabetes are:
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • A fruity breath odor
  • Unplanned weight loss
Other symptoms include tiredness, blurry vision, excessive hunger, moodiness, dehydration, recurrent yeast infections, and, in children, new onset bed-wetting.

Self-Care Guidelines

Individuals with type 1 diabetes always need to be on insulin, and skipping doses can result in life-threatening illness. Follow the self-care instructions of your medical team to keep sugar and insulin in balance and to avoid complications of type 1 diabetes (such as blindness, amputation of toes or fingers, heart, kidney or nerve damage). Daily care involves monitoring blood sugar a few times a day, regulating food intake, and taking insulin (shots or insulin pump) as directed.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you notice signs of type 1 diabetes in yourself or your child, contact your health care provider.

If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and become pregnant, be sure to see your doctor.

An infant with type 1 diabetes will require careful watch that blood sugar doesn't get too low, which can present with poor feeding, poor responsiveness, poor muscle tone, and irritability. Dangerously low blood sugar can cause seizures and coma, and is an emergency. Toddlers, preschool and school aged children must also be watched for signs of dangerously low blood sugar levels, which cause anxiety, jitteriness, and confusion, and can cause a person to pass out or have a seizure. Continue to monitor sugar levels and provide treatment as instructed, but get medical help immediately if signs of dangerously low blood sugar appear.


Your health care provider will treat your type 1 diabetes with insulin therapy. Other team members (nurse, diabetes educator, dietician, and podiatrist) will help you manage this lifelong condition, including the management of sugar level, activity level, and any complications that may occur.
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Diabetes mellitus type 1 in Child
A medical illustration showing key findings of Diabetes mellitus type 1 : Blurred vision, Fatigue, Dehydration, Hyperglycemia, Polyuria, Peripheral neuropathy, Polydipsia, Nocturia
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.