Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Kids

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism, in which the body is unable to regulate its blood glucose levels appropriately. Glucose, a simple sugar, comes from the carbohydrates that you eat. Your body synthesizes and stores glucose, which it then uses as a major source of energy.

Individuals with diabetes are at risk for complications that may affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves and circulatory system. Managing diabetes requires that kids and their parents work together include target blood sugar range, weight management and dietary and lifestyle changes.

Diabetes Types

Children with diabetes are diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2. 

Type 1 Diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. The pancreas does not produce enough insulin with type 1 diabetes. Without insulin, an excessive amount of glucose remains in the blood and can lead to health problems affecting the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums and teeth.

The signs of type 1 diabetes can develop quickly, over a few weeks. Signs to look for include an increase in thirst and frequent urination from fluid being pulled from the tissues, extreme hunger caused by muscles and organs being energy depleted from a lack of insulin, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, irritability and blurred vision. Advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the management of type 1 diabetes in children.

Type 2 Diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with adults, but a rise in the number of obese children has led to a rise in the amount of children who have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the body does not use insulin properly. This begins with insulin resistance. The pancreas tries to make extra insulin, but loses the ability to maintain normal blood glucose levels over time. Many of the same symptoms as type 1 can be seen in children with type 2 diabetes including increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision. Other additional symptoms to look for are slow-healing sores, frequent infections and areas of darkened skin in the armpits or neck, which could be a sign of insulin resistance.  

Learn about The Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Institute at South Texas Health System Children's >

Edinburg Children's Hospital
If you need a referral to a pediatric specialist affiliated with South Texas Health System Children's, call the South Texas Health System Reserve and Learn line at 800-879-1033.​