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Children and diabetes: Type 1 vs. Type 2

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Approximately 1 in 300-350 children have type 1 diabetes, and the incidence of new cases continues to rapidly increase.

The increasing prevalence of type 1 diabetes is evident here in the community, with Cone Health Pediatric Sub-Specialists seeing 40-45 new cases each year.

The rate of type 2 diabetes in children is also increasing at alarming rates, especially in children above the age of fourteen.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease in which the body is destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, and is often diagnosed between the ages of six months to eighteen years.

Signs of type 1 diabetes include weight loss, increased thirst and/or drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, and in some cases, vomiting, stomachaches, headaches and fatigue.

Classically, children with type 1 diabetes tended to be thin, and had to be put on insulin immediately. However, the medical field is now seeing a trend known as the obese type 1 diabetes phenomenon. This is being discovered in children who are initially evaluated for obesity and possible development of insulin resistance, similar to type 2 diabetes, yet when they actually develop the condition, their immune markers and diabetic complications more closely resemble those associated with type 1 diabetes.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic link with inheritance rates of 50 to 70 percent. The rising incidence of type 2 diabetes also has a direct correlation with the significantly rising obesity rates, even in children.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often include a dark, thick skin that develops around the neck known as acanthosis, episodes of low blood sugar that may cause jittery behavior and hunger shortly after a simple carbohydrate meal or snack, and in some cases, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and boils on the skin.

If left untreated, both type 1 & type 2 diabetes can lead to severe and sometime life-threatening health conditions; therefore it is important to seek medical evaluation if symptoms of either disease are noticed.

The team of pediatric endocrinologists and medical support staff at Cone Health Pediatric Sub-Specialists of Greensboro is dedicated to educating children and families about diabetes and providing exceptional treatment for children with the condition here in our community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Jennifer Badik is a pediatric endocrinologist at Cone Health Pediatric Sub-Specialists of Greensboro.  Dr. Badik earned her Doctor of Medicine at Temple University in 2006.  She completed her residency in pediatrics at University of Arizona in 2009, and completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Emory University in 2012.