A Kid’s Health Guide to Diabetes
Regardless of where a person lives, their socioeconomic class, or even their age, there’s a chance that they know someone who has diabetes. Diabetes is a common disease that affects people around the world. Courtesy of modern medicine, however, these people are living full and long lives. There are two types of diabetes, simply called type 1 and type 2 diabetes. When learning about diabetes, people must understand these two types and how they impact the health and lives of those who have them.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that involves the body’s inability to process a form of sugar known as glucose, which is used by the body for energy. This glucose is produced from the foods that people eat. When glucose enters the bloodstream, one’s pancreas, which is a gland near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin. This hormone’s job is to help the glucose enter cells in the body. Unfortunately, in some people, a problem can occur with the insulin. Some may not produce adequate amounts of it, or their bodies may not properly use what is made. This results in a buildup of glucose in the blood. When there is excess glucose in one’s blood, it can cause a number of problems for one’s health and even damage the health of their mouth and teeth. For diabetic residents of Annapolis, oral surgery may even be necessary if dental issues become too problematic. Severe health problems commonly associated with diabetes include kidney failure, blindness, and heart disease.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin. This means that these people depend on insulin shots that must be taken regularly. For some people, an insulin pump is a convenient option. Most often, this is a disease that develops in children, but it can also occur in adults and does not have a cure. The cause of type 1 diabetes is uncertain, but some scientists believe that genetics may play a role. In addition to one’s genes placing them at risk for type 1 diabetes, a viral infection may trigger an immune response or some environmental influence may combine with the genetic risks before they actually develop the disease.
How Do People Know They Have Type 1 Diabetes?
People, including kids, who have type 1 diabetes will begin to display certain signs or symptoms. These symptoms generally include the frequent need to urinate, increased thirst, and frequent gum infections that may cause them to routinely see Annapolis dentists or Annapolis orthodontists. Other potential symptoms may include an increased appetite to provide the body with additional energy that they are not getting from glucose. Their lack of energy may also result in increased fatigue. These results will typically lead parents or individuals to their pediatrician or family doctor, who will conduct further testing to determine if type 1 diabetes is the cause of these symptoms.
Living With Type 1 Diabetes
When a person is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they’ll still be able to do most of the things that their friends are able to, although they will need to care for themselves differently. Unlike people who do not have type 1 diabetes, they must take special care to keep their blood sugar levels under control. This means eating regularly and following a healthy type 1 diabetes diet that will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Exercise is also a matter of necessity, and one will need to use monitoring devices to check their blood sugar levels regularly. Because their bodies do not produce insulin, it is also necessary to take regular insulin shots, which may be necessary at times that feel inconvenient.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes differs from type 1 in several ways. The pancreas of people who have this form of the disease produces insulin. Unfortunately, the insulin that it produces does not perform properly; it is not effective in getting glucose into cells, so glucose continues to build up in the blood and the pancreas continues to produce insulin. Excess body weight plays a role in people getting type 2 diabetes. As kids are increasingly overweight these days, more kids are being diagnosed with this type of diabetes. Family history increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Certain ethnic groups are also at higher risk, including Native Americans, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans.
How Do People Know They Have Type 2 Diabetes?
Not everyone who has type 2 diabetes has obvious or immediate symptoms. As a result, some people may not know that they have it right away. When a person first gets the disease, they may experience fatigue, the need to urinate more often, and increased thirst. Some kids may develop a darkening of the skin around their necks, under their arms, or between their legs. This skin condition is called acanthosis nigricans. Going to one’s doctor is the best way to know if a person has diabetes. This is done through glucose blood testing. If diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, kids may be sent to a pediatric endocrinologist.
Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Kids who have type 2 diabetes can live a regular life, but they will also need to eat healthy by reducing fats, carbohydrates, and salt in their diet and exercising regularly to help control blood sugar. Medications are also often a part of one’s treatment for type 2 diabetes. With a healthy lifestyle, individuals who are active, lose weight, and watch their diet may be able to control their blood glucose levels to the degree that medication is no longer necessary.
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Children: Type 1 diabetes can strike children at any age. The University of Rochester Medical Center explains what this disease is, its causes, the symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, and what forms it comes in.
- Understanding and Treating Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in Children: Learn about how to treat diabetes in this article by the Yale School of Medicine.
- Type 1 Diabetes: The University of Utah Diabetes & Endocrinology Center provides information to interested readers about type 1 diabetes. It also talks about type 2 and gestational diabetes as well as the symptoms, causes, and treatments.
- What Is Type 1 Diabetes? Up to ten percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. The University of California San Francisco explains what type 1 diabetes is, and it includes a self-assessment quiz at the bottom.
- Diabetes Mellitis: Type 1 and Type 2 (PDF): Learn about the different types of diabetes in this document on the University of Minnesota website.
- Pump May Beat Shots for Diabetes: Medline Plus explains in this article how insulin pumps, while costly, can help improve one’s ability to control their diabetes.
- Just Diagnosed With Diabetes? Here’s Help: No one wants to learn that they have diabetes. Prevention magazine explains what people can do to get healthier if diagnosed with this disease.
- Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Monitoring of Diabetes: Read about the signs of diabetes on the American Heart Association’s website. It explains the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 forms of the disease and what tests are available to detect it.
- Five Things You Should Do After a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis: Health magazine provides advice on this page on what people can do if they are diagnosed with diabetes.
- Understanding Diabetes and Busting Myths: According to this Fox News article, diabetes affects 100 million Americans and causes 200,000 deaths per year. It explains what diabetes is, why it’s a health risk, and how to mitigate its effects.
- Understanding Diabetes: Visit the Merck website for statistical information about diabetes and the basic facts about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Diabetes and Your Kids: Parents who are concerned their child may have diabetes can click this link to read a CBS News article that explains both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The page also reviews treatment options and lists facts.
- Diabetes Rates Skyrocket in Kids and Teens: This article outlines the rising rate of diabetes in teens and younger kids.
- Five Surprising Facts About Diabetes: Myths about diabetes can make things confusing for families. This Parents magazine article reviews five facts about the disease.
- Diabetes Facts and Statistics: On this page, site visitors will find U.S. and global facts and statistics.