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What is Pediatric Diabetes?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pediatric diabetes refers to either type I or type II diabetes in children, both of which indicate that there is too much glucose in their blood. This condition must be treated properly or it could lead to blindness, heart or kidney disease, and death, to name a few consequences. The symptoms often include weight loss despite increased thirst and hunger, along with fatigue and irritability. Treatment is typically shots of insulin given by adults, though many children may be able to perform this treatment on their own as they age.

Type I diabetes is the most common form in children, as type II is known to mainly occur in older adults. The pancreas does not make sufficient insulin with type I, while type II diabetes does not permit the body's cells to properly absorb the insulin that the pancreas does make. Type I is caused by the body attacking the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for making insulin, which means it is autoimmune and not genetic. On the other hand, type II diabetes typically runs in families. The risk of developing it is thought to be increased by obesity and inactivity, which may be partly why children are less likely to get this kind than type I.

One major symptom that is often found in infants suffering from pediatric diabetes includes a yeast infection that leads to an extreme diaper rash. Dehydration, an upset stomach, and fatigue are also signs to watch out for in infants. Older children often exhibit the need to drink more water, eat more food, and urinate more frequently than usual. Sudden weight loss, abnormally sweet breath, irritability, exhaustion, and blurry vision are also symptoms of pediatric diabetes. Children with many of these symptoms should see a doctor so that treatment can be offered as soon as possible.

The main type of treatment for pediatric diabetes is the injection of insulin when blood sugar is abnormal. Typically, an adult must perform the major tasks of checking blood sugar and offering insulin for infants and toddlers, but many school-aged children can begin to contribute to their treatment. For example, those in elementary school can usually check their own blood sugar as long as an adult makes sure they are doing it correctly. By junior high, they can usually administer their own insulin shots, and by high school, they may choose whether to continue to get shots or use an insulin pump instead. Of course, children of any age may need help with these tasks when they are feeling weak from low blood sugar due to pediatric diabetes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

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Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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