Around 193,000 American children have diabetes, a condition that affects the way your body produces and uses insulin. The team of pediatricians at Newport Children’s Medical Group in Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Laguna Beach, California, diagnose diabetes and offer customized treatments to protect your child’s health. Call Newport Children’s Medical Group today for expert diabetes care.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition that affects the way the body makes and uses insulin. Insulin is one of the hormones that helps the body convert glucose — blood sugar — into energy.

Continuously elevated blood sugar levels cause a wide range of health problems. Fortunately, in most cases, diabetes is easily managed.

Two types of diabetes affect children.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin. The condition is sometimes called juvenile diabetes because it typically emerges in childhood. Medical researchers believe that type 1 diabetes develops when an autoimmune disease damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes

Children can also develop type 2 diabetes, which is also called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults, but it’s becoming more common in adolescents and children. Type 2 diabetes has a link to lifestyle factors, including diet, exercise habits, and obesity.

What are the warning signs of diabetes in children?

Some of the warning signs of diabetes in children include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue

These symptoms develop because the body tries to flush out the extra blood sugar in urine, which causes increased thirst.

The hunger and tired feeling develop because the body isn’t making energy correctly. Eventually, diabetics lose weight as the body tries to use fat and muscle for fuel.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms usually emerge suddenly and are very noticeable. Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop more gradually.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

If your Newport Children’s Medical Group pediatrician thinks that your child has diabetes, they order several blood and urine tests.

The tests provide information about your child’s glucose levels, insulin, and other hormones. The tests also provide information that identifies the type of diabetes.

How is diabetes treated?

If your child has type 1 diabetes, they need to take insulin every day to make up for what their body doesn’t produce. They also need to monitor their glucose levels. Your pediatrician can also recommend nutritious and delicious meals for your child that help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle adjustments to address type 2 diabetes as well as prediabetes — which occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated but haven’t reached diabetic levels.

Changing your child’s diet and encouraging daily physical activity can help their body use insulin more efficiently. If lifestyle changes don’t regulate your child’s blood sugar levels, your doctor can prescribe insulin.

Call Newport Children’s Medical Group today for expert diagnosis and treatment for diabetes.