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topic provides information about
type 2 diabetes in children. If you are looking for
type 1 diabetes, see the topic
Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease.
Type 2 diabetes is a
lifelong disease that develops when the
pancreas cannot make enough
insulin or when the body's tissues cannot use insulin
properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugar (glucose)
for energy. It also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver
Without insulin, the sugar cannot get into the cells to do
its work. It stays in the blood instead. This can cause high blood sugar
levels. A person has diabetes when the blood sugar stays too high too much of
Over time, high blood sugar can cause problems with the
eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. High blood sugar also makes a
person more likely to get serious illnesses or infections.
past, doctors believed that type 2 diabetes was an adult disease and that type
1 diabetes was a children’s disease. Now, more and more children are getting
type 2 diabetes.
Finding out that your child has diabetes can be
scary. But your child can live a long, healthy life by learning to manage the
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Doctors do not know
exactly what causes diabetes. Experts believe the main risks for children
getting type 2 diabetes are being overweight, not being physically active, and
having a family history of the disease.
Also, the hormones
released during the early teen years make it harder than usual for the body to
use insulin correctly. This problem is called
insulin resistance. It can lead to diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
Most children with type 2
diabetes do not have symptoms when the disease is first found. If there are
symptoms, they usually are mild and may include:
- Having to urinate more often.
- Feeling a little more thirsty than normal.
- Losing a
little weight for no clear reason.
How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
A simple blood
test is usually all that is needed to diagnose diabetes. Your child’s doctor
may do other blood tests if it is not clear whether your child has type 1 or
type 2 diabetes.
A doctor may test your child for diabetes if he
or she is overweight, gets little physical activity, or has other risk factors
for the disease. A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of
having a disease. Some children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when they
have a blood or urine test for some other reason.
How is it treated?