Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in children and young people. Type 2 diabetes is usually seen in adults but more young people are developing it.
The symptoms of diabetes are:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Weeing more often
- Losing weight
- Feeling very tired
If you are concerned your child may have diabetes speak to your GP urgently today. They will be able to check your child’s blood sugar level with a finger prick blood test.
Type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own defence system (immune system) attacks the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.
- We do not know what causes type 1 diabetes. It is not linked to lifestyle factors.
- There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.
- Type 1 diabetes is managed with injections of insulin.
Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over days or weeks. It is important for diabetes to be diagnosed and treated urgently, to prevent children and young people becoming seriously unwell.
Type 1 diabetes is not common in children and is not always considered when children see a health professional.
If you think your child may have diabetes ask your GP to do a finger prick and urine test. If these results suggest diabetes they will be sent to the hospital the same day to see a paediatrician.
Type 2 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes is where the body’s cells do not react to insulin or the body does not make enough insulin.
- It is not an autoimmune condition.
- There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. These include ethnicity, genetics and lifestyle.
- You can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes with healthy eating, regular exercise and achieving a healthy body weight.
- Tablets and insulin injections may also be needed to manage type 2 diabetes.
- Your local community pharmacist can give free lifestyle advice and advice about medication by booking a new medicine service consultation.
- Type 2 diabetes can develop over weeks or months. The symptoms may be less obvious compared to type 1 diabetes.
For further information on diabetes
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation