The term congenital refers to inborn and inherited, and congenital diabetes is an inherited diabetic condition, where newborn babies are generally diagnosed with diabetes. It is also referred as genetic diabetes and it is very rare diabetic condition. The new born babies are diagnosed with the condition hyperglycemia, high level of blood glucose in less than 18 hours of birth. Congenital diabetes is generally found to be type 2 diabetes in more than 90% and only in few it is found to be type 1 diabetes, which is characterised by non insulin dependent and insulin dependent condition respectively.
What causes congenital diabetes?
Causes of congenital diabetes are highly associated with gestational diabetes. However, even if the mother of infant has been diagnosed with mild diabetes or hyperglycaemia before the gestation i.e pregnancy, the baby is exposed with greater risk of developing diabetes by birth. Monogenic diabetes is an example of congenital diabetes which is caused due to mutation of singe gene at birth. This condition is diagnosed by the doctors in a few hours of delivery. Unfortunately, there are equivalent chances of developing congenital diabetes even with no previous history of diabetes or gestational diabetes in mother. You may wonder that how congenital diabetes is developed in infant with no history of diabetes in mother. Following are the causes of congenital diabetes with no apparent diagnosis of diabetes in mother.
• Late pregnancy
• Pregnancy after several miscarriages
• Food habits
• Overweight during pregnancy period
• Auto immunity disorder
• Improper or poor growth of fetus
What are the symptoms of congenital diabetes?
Since the infants sleep more than 16 hours a day it is quite difficult to diagnose congenital diabetes. However, following signs can lead towards congenital diabetes.
• Baby found to be overweight and abnormal growth
• Larger baby than normal size of newborn
• Very fast heart beats and abnormal size of heart / enlarged heart
• Enlarged liver and lungs
• Blue colour skin / pale yellow skin
• Weak cry
• Puffy eyes and face
• A sort of redness in the baby
• Diaper rash
• Change of diapers frequently due to increased urination
• Prolonged sleep – even though infants sleep for long hours, babies with congenital diabetes are likely to sleep continuously.
Treatment of congenital diabetes:
All babies that are born to the mothers who have history of diabetes or gestational diabetes are tested to diagnose hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar. Further, based on age of the baby or infant diagnosed with congenital diabetes, treatment may vary. Insulin doses, regular monitor of blood sugar levels, and examination of symptoms are the common treatments of congenital diabetes. There are few instances in which the congenital diabetes is diagnosed after a few years in growing child or in adults. For those, appropriate diet plan is recommended to reduce the blood glucose levels.
Prevention of congenital diabetes:
Since there are several factors associated with congenital diabetes which lead towards permanent diabetic condition and insulin dependency throughout the life, severe cardiac problems, neurological disorders, obesity, brain damage due to very low level of blood sugar, and much more, care should taken to prevent the condition.
Since most of the cases diagnosed with congenital diabetes are inherited from mother, it can be well prevented by adopting following measures.
• Pregnant women should check their blood glucose levels at periodic intervals as instructed by the physicians. Once they are diagnosed with diabetic condition, proper diet should be taken to control the sugar level.
• Avoid late pregnancy and abortions or miscarriages.
• Early breast feeding can sometime lower the glucose level.
• Women who have diagnosed with diabetes or hyperglycaemia before their pregnancy should take adequate care to maintain their blood glucose at normal level.
However, congenital diabetes arising due to genetic defects and inherited from history of diabetes other than mother could not be prevented.