Childhood Diabetes

Knowing that children can be diagnosed with both types of diabetes can make learning that your child has the disease a doubly confusing time. In reality, they are more similar than different. The most common form in children and adolescents is type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas. His or her body does not produce insulin, which it needs to get glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. A child diagnosed with type 2 diabetes produces insulin, but his or her body doesn’t use it properly.

The long-term complications are similar and can affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels. But the most alarming similarity is that both are on the rise in children. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of type 1 cases in children aged up to 9 years increased by 21 percent, while the number of type 2 cases among ages 10-19 rose by 30.5 percent.

The increase makes diabetes a major concern for parents, as it is for the pediatricians at Mercy Kids. But we know that children with either form of diabetes can live long, healthy lives if they:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Take their medication
  • Monitor their blood sugar

Our pediatricians work with other Mercy specialists to see your child every 3 to 6 months, check how well treatments are working and adjust the treatment plan as needed. Our care team also provides information and support to help you help your child develop healthy habits for life. From the initial diagnosis through adolescence, Mercy is here for you every step of the way.

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