LIVEWELL MINUTE: Pediatric Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body is unable to use food for energy in the right way. Most children with diabetes have type 1, or juvenile diabetes. Currently we are seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes in children.
Dr. Kelly Seiler, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at Blank Children’s Hospital says, “Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children. In the United States, more than 175,000 children younger than 20 years of age have the disease.”
In type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops making the hormone insulin. Everyone needs insulin to survive because it helps the body to use sugar found in foods for energy. Without insulin, sugar gets stuck in the blood and is unable to enter the cells to make energy. Because people with Type 1 diabetes can’t produce insulin, they are required to take insulin every day.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced, but it does not work correctly. The body is unable to keep the sugar in the blood within a “normal” range. Type 2 diabetes may be treated initially with meal planning and exercise. Sometimes medications need to be added to keep blood glucoses in the “target” range.
Dr. Seiler says, “While there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, researchers are working to find an answer. Fortunately, with Type 2 diabetes there are more answers. For those who are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight and adding exercise can steer them away from developing this disease.”