- Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children, affecting about 1 in every 400 to 500 young people less than 20 years of age.
- Signs of diabetes include: excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, slow healing sores, dry, itchy skin, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the feet.
- Long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and lower limb amputations. Although there is no cure, the disease can be managed and complications delayed or prevented. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/
- Two types of diabetes affect young people. Type 1 (see below for description) or juvenile diabetes has historically affected children. Type 2 (see below for description) is more common in adults but has been increasing among children and teens due to decreased physical activity and an increase in consumption of high-calorie foods rich in saturated fats.
- Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes must be managed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to prevent serious health consequences. For information on prevention of Type 2 diabetes, visit www.ndep.nih.gov/diabetes/prev/prevention.htm
Source: From the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH www.ndep.nih.gov/diabetes/diabetes.htm
Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer makes insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells that produce insulin. Insulin is essential to the body because it delivers sugar in the blood to the cells of the body so that the cells can use the sugar as fuel. To survive, people with type 1 diabetes must receive insulin by injection or a pump. Treatments also include eating the right foods, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily (for some), and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. For more information, visit www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes.jsp
Type 2 Diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition one step away from diabetes in which fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, the pancreas loses its ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals. Treatment includes using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. For more information, visit www.diabetes.org/type-2-diabetes.jsp
Below are some helpful articles on Diabetes in children of school age:
** This information has been shared with you by Barb Flis, mother of two and creator of Parent Action for Healthy Kids.