Understanding Diabetes in Children
The following describes diabetes, particularly in children. For specific information regarding your child's health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is diabetes?
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose enter our body’s cells. When your child has diabetes, his/her body either doesn't make enough insulin or does not use its own insulin very well. This problem causes glucose (sugar) to build up in his/her blood.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
- Very thirsty
- Urinating a lot, often at night
- Blurry vision
- Feeling very tired much of the time
- Losing weight without trying
- Very dry skin
- Sores that are slow to heal
- More infections than usual
- Losing feeling or having a tingling feeling in the feet
What are the three main types of diabetes?
1. Type 1
10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, which means that their bodies produce little or no insulin. People with type 1 diabetes often are very sick, must take insulin every day to live, and may require hospitalization.
2. Type 2
90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which means that their bodies make insulin but the insulin doesn’t work the way that it should. 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. More and more children who are overweight are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Treatment for type 2 diabetes focuses on healthy eating, increasing physical activity, oral medications, and sometimes taking insulin.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes:
- A family history of diabetes
- Lack of exercise
- Weighing too much
- Being of African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian/Pacific Islander heritage
- Women who have had large babies
- Gestational diabetes
3. Gestational diabetes
This type of diabetes develops in women when they are pregnant. Usually the mother’s blood sugar returns to normal after delivery. Having gestational diabetes puts these women at risk for type 2 diabetes as they get older.
You can help manage your child's diabetes by helping your child:
- control his/her weight
- make healthy food choices
- follow a meal plan
- get regular physical activity
- take his/her diabetes medication, when ordered by the doctor
- check his/her blood sugar regularly
- see the doctor regularly
- take part in Hurley’s pediatric diabetes education classes–your child can manage his/her diabetes and stay healthy by learning what to do to help himself/herself
For more information on the Pediatric Diabetes Education Program or the Pediatric Diabetes Support Group, or to make an appointment, call (810) 262-6162.
For more information on Hurley's Adult Diabetes Education Program, call (810) 262-2310 or click here.
For more information on Hurley's Diabetes During Pregnancy Education Program, call (810) 262-9126 or click here.