Available Now
MetroKids
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed Edit Module

Childhood Diabetes

What to do if you see signs of diabetes in your children.

(page 1 of 2)

According to the American Diabetes Association, 1 in every 400 children has diabetes, and that number’s on the rise. “We’re seeing more Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes than ever before,” says Claresa Levetan, MD, chief of endocrinology at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill Hospital. She goes on to quote a sobering statistic: “If you were born after the year 2000, you have a 1-in-3 chance of developing Type 2 in your lifetime.” And over the past 20 years, Type 1 has increased 70 percent in children younger than 5.  

Diabetes Defined
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin. Though this condition, formerly known
as juvenile diabetes, is far more common in children, “It can affect anyone at any stage of life,” says Nanette Gerst, executive director of the South Jersey chapter of JDRF, a national nonprofit that focuses on T1D. 

Type 2 diabetes (T2D), unlike T1D, is influenced by lifestyle habits (think diet and exercise) and closely correlates with obesity rates. In Type 2 diabetics, the pancreas produces insulin yet the body develops a resistance to the peptide hormone, explains Kimberly Shoe.

Childhood diabetes symptoms

Terri Lipman, PhD., assistant dean and professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, spells out the three classic symptoms for diabetes:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive hunger

Scott Kasper of Mt. Laurel, NJ, is a father of three, including two boys with Type 1 diabetes. His red flag went up when his oldest son, then 10, needed his water glass refilled over and over at a restaurant. Because this occurred after a sports practice, Kasper and his wife weren’t unduly concerned, but they eventually took the now-16-year-old to see the doctor when he became uncharacteristically irritable over a period of weeks. Kasper’s youngest son was diagnosed at just 13 months old; the telltale sign in this case was that the baby’s newly changed diapers quickly became so wet, they hung around his knees.

Neither Kasper nor his wife have T1D, and in general a genetic predisposition to the disease is much more prevalent in people who develop T2D. Family history and a BMI percentile greater than 86 are prime diabetes risk factors, as is the presence of prediabetes. Patients with prediabetes have elevated blood sugar levels that aren’t yet high enough to be classified as T2D, though they are at greater risk of developing Type 2 if they don’t make changes to their diet and exercise habits, says Kimberly A. Shoe, nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. However, this group is also in a position to prevent diabetes. “With lifestyle modifications you could reduce your risk by 70 percent,” says Dr. Levetan.

Next page: all about insulin

Add your comment:

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More on this topic »Health & Nutrition

Are E-cigarettes Safe? No!

Are E-cigarettes Safe? No!

E-cigarettes appeal to tweens and teens, but the dangers of vaping — including nicotine poisoning — are high.

Vaccinations: After the Disneyland Measles Outbreak

Vaccinations: After the Disneyland Measles Outbreak

4 vaccination facts to ease immunization fears after the Disneyland measles outbreak

Edit ModuleShow Tags

MK Memo

MK Memo: Moms Know
Save the Date: Main Line Talent Show

Save the Date: Main Line Talent Show

All about the 2nd annual Main Line Talent Show, featuring 36 young singers, dancers and musicians from 20 Greater Philadelphia schools

Comments

April 2015 Preview

April 2015 Preview

Standardized tests, Autism Awareness Month articles and nature spots for kids mark our April 2015 issue.

Comments

Spring Break Water Safety

Spring Break Water Safety

3 tips on building kids' swim skills and water safety on your spring break vacation.

Comments

Snow Day Snowmen

Snow Day Snowmen

MK readers share pics of their snow-day snowman masterpieces!

Comments

Tax Credits for Summer Camp

Tax Credits for Summer Camp

Learn which camp expenses are tax-deductible.

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags

MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
A Mom's Guide to Lacrosse

A Mom's Guide to Lacrosse

A mom new to boys' lacrosse explains the popular spring sport for other parents.

Comments

MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
Motherhood by the Numbers

Motherhood by the Numbers

Motherhood by the number, a countdown in verse

Comments

MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
Top 5 Toddler Complaints

Top 5 Toddler Complaints

5 everyday things that send a 2-year-old into a toddler tantrum

Comments

{/if}