'Why my child?' you may well ask when told that your child has diabetes. You may feel guilty about your genes, or think that you caused diabetes by letting your child eat too many sweets. Relax! No one really knows why certain people have diabetes.
Researchers have been working on the question for years without a definite answer. While close relatives of people with diabetes (siblings, parents and children) have a greater chance to develop the disease, research has shown that diabetes is not caused by genetics alone. In fact, the majority of people who develop type 1 diabetes have no history of diabetes in their family. It is also not caused by eating too much sugar. Your child can still have all of his or her favourite sweets as long as they are scheduled in your child's eating plan.
Children are mainly affected by childhood or juvenile diabetes, commonly known as insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes, and the risk of children getting the disease is higher than virtually all the other severe chronic diseases of childhood.
Because diabetes needs close monitoring and management, it can leave your child feeling "different", but there's a lot you can do to help your child fit in: