More than 34 million Americans are living with diabetes. And many of them are children and adolescents. Cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are on the rise among those 20 and under in the U.S., according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to further serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss and kidney disease. In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Ana Creo, a Mayo Clinic pediatric endocrinologist, explains what signs and symptoms parents should be aware of.
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Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children and teens.
“Right now there are more children with Type 1 versus Type 2, but the rates of both are on the rise,” says Dr. Creo. “In general, obesity is increasing in children, so that’s certainly one part of Type 2. (As for) Type 1, in general, autoimmune diseases are increasing in kids.”
Young people who develop diabetes are at a higher risk of health challenges throughout their lives. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease can help get an earlier diagnosis and ultimately a chance of a better outcome. Dr. Creo explains what parents should be looking for as far as symptoms:
“If I were to pick two (symptoms) that are more concerning for diabetes, it would be using the bathroom more and (being) really, really thirsty. Sometimes kids can also lose weight, as they’re not able to store what they’re eating in their body anymore without insulin. So weight loss can be another feature,” says Dr. Creo.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes tend to develop rapidly in young people; whereas, Type 2 diabetes symptoms develop over time.
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