What does having diabetes mean?
The body needs glucose for energy and growth in children. Glucose comes from the food we eat. Diabetes mellitus is when the body cannot use the glucose properly, resulting in persistent high blood sugar. There are two major types of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
High blood sugar is the direct result of insulin deficiency. This is the more common type of diabetes in children. The only treatment available for type 1 diabetes is insulin by injection. Proper treatment includes close blood sugar monitoring, a balanced diet and regular exercise. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes yet, but research is ongoing.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
While insulin can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar is more of a result of insulin insensitivity. Due to the rising incidence of obesity and sedentary activity of youth, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children. Type 2 diabetes can also be associated with other medical conditions like solid organ transplants, immunosuppresant use and chronic steroid use. Again, there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but because the body is able to make insulin, this type of diabetes can be controlled with a balanced diet and exercise alone to maintain a healthy weight for height.