There are two type of diabetes that can impact young people. The first, called Type 1 Diabetes, is an immune system disorder that causes the pancreas to stop producing the insulin needed to process food and turn it into energy. The second, called Type 2 Diabetes, occurs when the pancreas produces decreasing amounts of insulin and is unable to efficiently use what does exist.

The Growing Problem of Type 2 Diabetes and Kids

In the past, Type 2 Diabetes was usually diagnosed in later adulthood. However, in recent years, many more kids have also been showing Type 2 Diabetes symptoms. The American Diabetes Association estimates that as many as one in six children today can be at risk, due to growing rates of childhood obesity and reduced amounts of physical activity.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Because Type 2 diabetes often comes on very slowly, it's easy for parents to miss the signs. Yet early detection can be important to help manage the illness.

Common warning signs of diabetes in kids include extreme thirst, increased urination, changes in appetite, fatigue and an increase in infections. In addition, many children with Type 2 Diabetes exhibit  the following symptoms.

1.)    Bedwetting. Since children who have Type 2 Diabetes often feel excessively thirsty, the dramatic increase in what they drink can cause them to need urinate often, even during sleep. In some children, this can cause nighttime accidents to occur on a regular basic.

2.)    Cuts that heal slowly. Your child will be more prone to infections if he has Type 2 Diabetes, so you'll need to be on the lookout for more health problems that can co-exist. Along with an increased risk of infection, you may also notice that your child's cuts and sores take a long time to heal.

3.)    Blurred vision. If your child is suddenly having difficulty seeing well, it's important to have his vision checked. Sometimes Type 2 Diabetes and eyesight changes can go hand in hand.

4.)    Dark patches of skin behind the neck and under the arms. The name acanthosis nigricans (AN) may be unfamiliar to you, but it's a symptom that affects three-quarters of kids with Type 2 Diabetes. It causes a telltale darkening around the neck area and/or under the armpit.

Take Action

If you notice any of these or any other unusual signs in your child, you'll want to talk to your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child does have Type 2 Diabetes, this illness will need to be addressed promptly to keep it from causing other health complications. Further, even if your child doesn't have diabetes now, if he's overweight, not eating right or not getting enough regular exercise, he could be at increased risk. However, by making some important lifestyle changes, he may be able to keep Type 2 Diabetes at bay.

American Academy of Pediatrics/Healthy     A-Manageable-Epidemic.aspx

American Diabetes Association

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation