Can Kids Have Diabetes?
November is National Diabetes Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes – and 8.1 million of those don’t know they have it. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares some tips for parents to recognize signs of diabetes in children.
Can children get diabetes?
Nurse Rose: It’s rare, but it is possible. Most people are familiar with Type 2 diabetes – diagnosed in adults – this form of the disease is the most common type and is often related to diet and exercise. While it’s less common, children and young adults can also be diagnosed with diabetes – known as Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Nurse Rose: Type 1 is an autoimmune response that causes a person’s body not to make any insulin at all. Insulin is a hormone that is essential for life and helps your body use sugar for energy. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and could lead to life-changing complications over time.
How can you tell if your child has diabetes?
Nurse Rose: Sometimes it can be difficult to detect because the symptoms may be mistaken for other issues. If you notice these signs and symptoms, take your child to their primary care physician:
- Extreme thirst and/or hunger even when eating
- Excessive urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
What is the treatment for diabetes?
Nurse Rose: Because diabetes causes problems with regulating your glucose, or blood sugar, level — it involves lifelong medication and monitoring to manage a healthy glucose level.
- Insulin injections
- Monitor blood glucose levels
- A balanced, healthy diet
- Regular exercise
If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, your child’s doctor or a registered dietitian can help you better understand how to manage their blood sugar levels with the right foods.