Having diabetes means that there is too much sugar (glucose) in your child’s blood. The body breaks down some of the foods your child eats into sugar. The blood carries the sugar to the cells of the body. Your child needs some sugar in his cells for energy, but too much sugar in the blood is not good for your child’s health.
Diabetes is caused by a problem with the way the body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is made by the pancreas, which is an organ in the upper belly. Your child’s body uses insulin to help move sugar from the blood into the cells. When your child does not have enough insulin or has trouble using the insulin the body makes, sugar cannot get into the cells and builds up in your child’s blood.
The 2 main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Healthcare providers don’t know how to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes, which is much more common than type 1, can often be prevented by controlling risk factors.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes that you cannot control include:
Risk factors that you may be able to control include:
One of the problems with type 2 diabetes is that it may not cause symptoms for months or years. That’s why it’s important to have regular checkups. When diabetes does start to cause symptoms, they may include:
Untreated diabetes can cause serious problems. Diabetes can damage small blood vessels and nerves, causing problems in the eyes, heart, brain, kidneys, skin, and feet. A very high blood sugar can cause life-threatening problems.