Diabetes in Children and Teenagers

Diabetes in Children and Teenagers

Until recently, the common type of diabetes in children and teens was type 1 even called juvenile diabetes for a long time. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose,or sugar, get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much sugar stays in the blood.

But now younger people are also getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes. But now it is becoming more common in children and teens, due to more obesity. According to the CDC, more than 208,000 people younger than 20 have diabetes this includes both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into a type of sugar called glucose. Your pancreas creates a hormone, known as insulin, that moves glucose from your blood into your cells, where it’s used for fuel.

In type 2 diabetes, the cells in your child’s body don’t respond to the insulin, and glucose builds up in her bloodstream. This is called insulin resistance. Eventually, the sugar levels in her body get too high for it to handle. That could lead to other conditions in the future, like heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.

Children have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if they are obese, have a family history of diabetes, or are not active, and do not eat well. To lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in children.

The single biggest cause of type 2 diabetes in children is extra weight. In the U.S., nearly 1 out of every 3 children is overweight. Once a child gets too heavy, she’s twice as likely to get diabetes.

One or more of these things may contribute to extra weight or obesity:
• Unhealthy eating
• Lack of physical activity
• Family members (alive or dead) who’ve been overweight
• Rarely, a hormone problem or other medical condition

What are the Symptoms?
At first, there may be no symptoms. Over time, you may notice:
• Unexplained weight loss
• Hungry or thirsty a lot, even after eating
• Dry mouth
• Peeing a lot
• Fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Heavy breathing
• Slow healing of sores or cuts
• Itchy skin
• Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

Take your child to the Pediatrician if you notice any of these symptoms.

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