There are three types of diabetes: type I, type II, and gestational diabetes. They all prevent the body from getting enough insulin and leave an excess of sugar in the bloodstream. These two things have multiple negative consequences for children (and adults).
The major differences between the two most common types of diabetes are covered in this linked article by the London Diabetes Centre. They’re in the best position to explain it clearly because they diagnose and treat children and adults with either type. They aim to make their lives better, so they can get more out of life.
What Type of Diabetes Can Children Have?
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas. It’s not that common with the second type being far more likely in the general population. Data from the International Diabetes Federation states that 0.025 percent of children in the UK are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year.
Therefore, when it comes to children, type I diabetes is more common. This differs from adults because if they had type I as a child, they’d still have it as an adult. Type 2 diabetes is somewhat less severe in the sense that some insulin production is possible, it’s simply insufficient for the body’s requirements.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Kids
Look out for the following signs your child may be developing diabetes:
- Drinking excessive amounts
- Increasing urination
- Weight loss
- Behavioural changes
Speak to your GP if you notice any of these symptoms. If left untreated, diabetes is fatal.
Are Children at Risk from Type 2 Diabetes?
The cases of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are becoming more common in recent years compared to decades past, as being significantly overweight is a major factor.
Type 2 is regularly connected to consuming a fatty diet including too many calorie-dense foods (often fried) and a lack of balanced nutrition. An excess of calories and a lack of regular exercise – too much gaming on the console or smartphone in their room – can lead to a child putting on a lot of weight. Indeed, analysis of the size of the average child indicates a steady increase over the last several decades.
While type 2 is far less likely in children, for ones whose parents allow them to overeat, consume too much sugar, and don’t get them to join in with family exercise, the risks grow substantially.
Before parents dismiss these risks, know that diabetes is a life-changing, lifelong disease. Any type of diabetes is something that will limit what their child will do. They’ll certainly be far less carefree than they were before due to the need to be always mindful of their blood sugar levels, eat regularly, and take insulin. That’s not a good road to go down when it’s completely preventable.
Type I diabetes is not preventable. Some children are born predisposed to it; others are not. For type II diabetes, the most common lifestyle choices that are known to increase the risk of a child getting it are excess calorie consumption leading to obesity and inactivity. Parents that lead by example with a healthy lifestyle have far less to worry about than those that do not.
Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Lucy Clarke