The immune system of children with type 1 diabetes sometimes attacks other organs besides the pancreas. Immune cell reactions against the thyroid gland are the most common and they can cause the gland to become either overactive or underactive.
- The thyroid gland is a horseshoe-shaped organ in the neck that controls the speed of everything in your body.
- When thyroid hormone is too low, things move slowly. When it is too high, things move too quickly.
- Providers at Children’s test all their patients with type 1 diabetes to make sure thyroid problems are properly discovered and treated.
Celiac disease occurs when the intestines react against proteins in dietary grains, including wheat, rye and barley. Children with type 1 diabetes are at high risk for having celiac disease. Symptoms can be severe, including slow growth and diarrhea. Some children with celiac disease do not know they have symptoms until after they are treated and realize how much better they feel. This is why providers at Children’s test patients with type 1 diabetes for celiac disease.
High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol and triglycerides are types of fat that travel in the blood to all the cells of the body. Children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for having high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. If these levels are high for many years, they can raise the chance of a person having a heart attack or stroke. Usually, the only way to know if cholesterol and triglycerides are too high is to do a blood test.
- Some people can lower their cholesterol and triglyceride levels to normal by making sure their blood glucose levels are as near to normal as possible and following a healthy diet.
- Others will need to take medicines to get the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides to the acceptable range.
Depression, Anxiety, Behavior Concerns, Eating Disorders, Divorce
Chronic disease in a child causes stress for the child and the rest of the family, including parents and siblings. Stress can show up as any of the problems listed above. Every family reacts in its own way when diabetes is found in a loved one. It is important for families to learn how to address their feelings.
- People who understand stress is normal and who talk honestly about their concerns with other family members can usually find a way to make things better.
- Families can be helped by a counselor, clergyman or psychologist.
- Some children with diabetes and their families run into severe problems that may need the help of a psychiatrist in addition to a counselor.