Information for Preteens:
Body Science, About Diabetes
When you eat foods that contain sugar (glucose), your pancreas normally releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps the cells in your body absorb the glucose.
If someone has diabetes, this process does not happen correctly. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or process insulin. At least 100,000 children in America have diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
There are two different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: The pancreas cannot produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes: The insulin isn't working properly in the body.
Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes (or juvenile diabetes) because it usually affects kids. However, Type 1 diabetes can also affect adults.
Type 2 diabetes is called noninsulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes because it usually occurs in people over 40 years of age. It can also occur in overweight children.
When a person has Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin. However, the insulin doesn't work correctly and the glucose stays in the blood.
Diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is often genetic. Doctors also think there may be multiple genetic and environmental factors (other things that affect people's health) including illnesses that make people have a higher risk of getting it.
How does someone find out if they have it?Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination (peeing)
- Unquenchable thirst
- Feeling tired or weak
- Unusual Weight loss
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Treating Type 1 Diabetes
People with Type 1 diabetes take prescription insulin and carefully monitor (keep track of) the amount of sugar in their blood. Prescription insulin comes in a liquid and it is injected into the muscle. Some people wear insulin pumps that automatically inject insulin when their body needs it.
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A dietitian can help a diabetic figure out the right nutritional balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Kids with diabetes should play sports to stay fit and healthy.
A doctor may recommend meal plans for children or adults with diabetes. There are three main types of meal plans:
- Constant carbohydrate: Eating a specific amount of carbohydrates for each meal or snack at about the same time each day.
- Carbohydrate counting: Counting the number of carbohydrates eaten at each meal.
- Exchange: Counting protein and fat in addition to carbohydrates.
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high school student writer
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Diabetes Center, Kidshealth.org.
For More Information:
See our Diabetes Resources.
See our Chronic Diseases: Diabetes article.
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013