Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes sugar and can present itself in two ways: type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease in which the body is destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin and is often diagnosed in children and young adults. While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, it is not brought on by diet or nutrition. With Type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin but either not enough or doesn’t use it properly. Type 2 is more commonly associated with adults but is becoming more prevalent in children.
Signs of diabetes include:
- weight loss
- increased thirst and/or drinking
- increased urination
- increased appetite
These signs can often be mistaken for another illness, but if they persist, talk to your child’s provider about testing their blood sugar levels. Treating diabetes focuses on managing blood sugar levels through regular self-testing and insulin injections, although a healthy diet and exercise regimen can also be beneficial. Your child doesn’t have to live with a restricted diet once they understand how to balance blood sugar levels by counting carbohydrates and insulin intake.
A diabetes diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to limit your child’s future. Children with diabetes can still live a long and happy life, it may just take some time to adjust to their diagnosis. Advancements in the treatment of diabetes are allowing people who are diagnosed to live much more normal and high-quality lifestyles.
The team of nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, and pediatric endocrinologists at Cone Health Pediatric Specialists is dedicated to educating children and families about diabetes and providing individualized treatment for children with the condition here in our community.
Spenser Beasley is a family nurse practitioner at Pediatric Specialists at Wendover Ave and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Spencer received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from East Carolina University in 2011 and his Master of Science in Nursing from Winston Salem State University’s family nurse practitioner program in 2016.