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Children with Diabetes
Kids Diabetes Alert

We often think of overweight adults as being at risk for having diabetes, but it is now known that many overweight teens are at risk for diabetes too. Learn to recognize the risk factors of diabetes in your kids.

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Children and Diabetes

Finding out that your child has been diagnosed with diabetes can be very frightening and overwhelming. Children and their families have to go through a tremendous learning experience to help the child manage his or her diabetes. But kids are adaptable and kids with diabetes can have very normal childhoods with preparation and understanding.

What You Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents; about 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes. When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes. However, in the last 2 decades, type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among children and adolescents with increasing frequency.

  • Each year, more than 13,000 young people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes begins when the body develops a resistance to insulin and no longer uses the insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to regulate blood sugar.
  • Health care providers are finding more and more children with type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.
  • A statistically significant increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents was found only for American Indians.
  • The epidemics of obesity and the low level of physical activity among young people, as well as exposure to diabetes in utero, may be major contributors to the increase in type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence.

Children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are generally between 10 and 19 years old, obese, have a strong family history for type 2 diabetes, and have insulin resistance. Generally, children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes have poor glycemic control (A1C = 10% - 12%).

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