Early Asthma Leads to Type 1 Diabetes?

If your child had asthma, as mine did, from birth to about five, a new study says he could be at higher risk for diabetes type 1.  That's the really bad one, that, if left untreated is fatal.

Diabetes Type 1 attacks your organs, including your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth if treatment, which usually includes insulin injections, is not started.

“Our study identified respiratory infections in early childhood, especially in the first year of life, as a risk factor for the development of T1D," the authors noted in their report, as reported by newswise.com.

As a new mom, I didn't realize that seeing my son's ribs go in and out like an accordion while he was in the bathtub meant, get him to the pediatrician at once.  I waited until his breathing was very labored and then brought him in.  It took about 20 minutes with a nebulizer, through all of which he screamed, to get his breathing back to normal.

He went on to have colds that turned into asthma about two or three times a year.  It got so I became an expert at assembling and using the nebulizer (which actually wound up being a life-saver for me when I developed asthma as an adult and had an attack where I nearly stopped breathing).

At times it would get so bad the pediatrician would put him on prednisone (which, I later found out, 18-month-olds should not be on more than twice a year, and here he was, getting slapped with them like vitamins).  I changed pediatricians.

But this new study has found that children who suffer from infections and respiratory problems in their first year of life could very well develop the more serious type of diabetes.  It's not known why this happens, but it's certainly something to look out for.  Researchers are studying vaccines and other types of prevention to wipe out this threat.

I remember thinking that diabetes wasn't such a bad thing.  A lot of the older people I know (including my dad) have it and you just have to watch what you eat. But then one of my aunts lost both her legs because she didn't take care of it, and though I'm talking about Type 2 diabetes -- a very different animal -- I began to see just how problematic this is.

I have a friend whose son has Type 1 diabetes and most of the time, he's well (she watches over him like a hawk), but it's a full-time job because you have to alert schools and parents and friends at parties and worry endlessly when he's away from home, and sadly, like me, not everyone takes it seriously.  But her son's not out of the woods.  For children born between 1975 and 1980, the risk of dying within 20 years of diagnosis was about 2.5%, but exploded to 7% within 25 years.  This is along with kidney, heart, eye and other organ disease, as well.

These numbers don't seem that high but compared to the average population, they're significant.

So what should you do if your child develops asthma?  See a doctor right away, get him started on a preventive plan, and do everything you can to make this disease not become part of his life.


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