What To Know About Diabetes in Children

Child with diabetes getting check on at the doctor's office

Your child’s health is everything. New parents face so many concerns, but none are more powerful than questions regarding health and ways to prevent conditions or illnesses that may make your child suffer. We find that many new parents often wonder about diabetes in children and their chances of developing a type of diabetes. EP Family and Pediatrics works with parents and children that deal with the effects and issues caused by Diabetes. 

A quick review of the two types of diabetes. The label of diabetes often becomes applied across the board, but the differences between the two types are essential to note: 

Type 1: This type of diabetes refers to when the body completely stops making insulin. This means that people with this type of diabetes must take insulin daily to regulate the body. 

Type 2: This is when the body produces insulin, but the body’s cells do not respond to the production of insulin the way they should, or perhaps the production of insulin is insufficient. The term insulin resistance came about because the pancreas does not respond appropriately and produces more insulin than it should. 

A Quick Dive into the Endocrinology of Diabetes 

The body’s production and distribution of hormones are vital to our everyday health. Hormones are responsible for many different vital functions in our day-to-day lives; they are the little messengers that tell target organs to perform a specific function. Insulin is one of these hormones that is a communicator between the pancreas and the liver to help the regulation of blood-sugar levels. 

When blood-sugar levels are off, people suffer from a lack of energy or other symptoms that can be problematic. The body is always working to stay in a state of health or homeostasis. What happens when insulin doesn’t get produced? For example, this process gets interrupted, and the body goes into internal disruption. Glucagon and insulin are both responsible for maintaining a balanced blood sugar level. These two hormones tag-team all day in a constant back and forth to achieve equilibrium as the body’s sugar levels rise and fall after eating, in response to stress, etc. 

Diabetes in Children— Statistics and More 

According to some recent CDC data, of the estimated 23 million people who became diagnosed in 2015, about 193,000 were children and adolescents under the age of 20. There has been an increase in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children in recent years. This has some experts trying to educate parents. Type 1 is a lot more common in children with Type 2 because Type 1 becomes caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin. The National Institute of Health has reported that each year rates of Type 1 diabetes are rising by 1.8%, and rates of Type 2 diabetes are rising by 4.8%. 

For a long time, diabetes became associated with adults and thought of as an adult condition. When it comes to diabetes in children, it is most common in those aged 10 to 19. However, between 2011 and 2012, some data showed that about 23% of new diabetes cases in children were Type 2. 

Causes of Type 2 in Children

Being overweight is closely associated with this type of diabetes in children and adults. Children who exhibit signs of being overweight are more prevalent in Type 2 diabetes because their bodies struggle to regulate insulin. 

The symptoms of Type 2 in children:

  • Frequent urination and increased thirst
  • Fatigue and exhibiting signs of always being tired or having a lack of energy
  • Blurry vision 
  • Darkened areas of the skin
  • Weight loss

Signs often associated with Type 1:

  • Frequent urination (this is also a common symptom in Type 1) 
  • Increased appetite
  • Bedwetting
  • Frequent Dehydration 

The longer a case of diabetes goes undiagnosed, the more damage it can cause to a child’s development and growth. A lack of energy, for example, can cause your child to withdraw from participating in certain activities. This may lead to isolation and have other adverse emotional and social consequences. If your child classifies as overweight and suffers from diabetes or suspect that they suffer from Type 1, get them checked immediately. 

Genetics and Effects

Is diabetes genetic? We get this question from parents frequently. Parents that have diabetes are often concerned about the probability that their child might be more prevalent to disease. The short answer to this question is maybe, and it depends. There is a lot of nature and nurture involved here. It depends on what kind of diabetes the parent has. Also, nurture plays a role in a child’s probability of becoming diabetic. 

Concerned About Your Child’s Health?

The best thing to do is find a pediatrician and pediatric clinic that will dedicate the time to your child’s health. If you suspect your child might be suffering from diabetes, call EP Family and Pediatrics today. 

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