What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Diabetes? Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Awareness Month occurs in November to honor Dr. Frederick Banting’s birthday, who discovered insulin in 1921. Every year, it’s a chance to spread awareness for a common chronic childhood disease. This year, diabetes diagnosis is more important now than ever. During COVID-19, type 2 diabetic children were diagnosed in greater numbers. Type 2 diabetes arises when the body is unable to use or create enough insulin.

According to Brynn Marks, MD MSHPEd, a pediatric endocrinologist and Director of Technology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Diabetes Center for Children, diabetes symptoms should be treated right away.

“Dr. Marks explains that when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, it can make you sick quickly.” Insulin facilitates the body’s utilization of sustenance as energy. “If our bodies don’t have enough insulin, they will get energy from other places, like breaking down fat and muscle.” We’re unwell as a result of this.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a pancreas that produces little or no insulin. Insulin helps the body absorb glucose or sugar from the blood and use it as energy. Without daily insulin, type 1 diabetic children can develop damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes, nervous system, and circulatory systems. Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition that requires immediate attention.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or cured with exercise or nutrition. It is more plausible that certain families have a genetic connection that leads the immune system to assault and kill insulin-producing cells. Nobody knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rates of type 1 diabetes among youth aged under 19 increased from 20 cases to 23 per 100,000.

Living with type 1 diabetes also impacts the premiums you’ll pay for personal insurance products, says Matt Schmidt of Diabetes 365.  “Expect to pay higher premiums for any type of health, life, disability, and long term care insurance if you have type 1 diabetes.  Underwriters will always view you as a higher risk to them, and will pass along higher rates to you.  With this being said, there are ways to lower your premiums.  If you can show evidence of a well controlled A1C, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle, you may qualify for discounted rates.  We often see life insurance with type 1 diabetes be discounted 12% to 15% for certain applicants.”

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

The incidence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents has increased over the past few years. Type 2 diabetes is when the body produces its insulin but becomes resistant. When insufficient insulin moves glucose or sugar from the bloodstream and into the cells for energy, the blood sugar level rises, causing the classic diabetes symptoms. Diabetes is a result of obesity and a decline in physical exercise. Healthy lifestyle modifications can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is just as damaging to the kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves, and more.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes

Dr. Marks explains that the symptoms of diabetes and heart disease are often similar. Symptoms can include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased Urination
  • weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Blurred Vision
  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Over drowsiness and fatigue
  • Anger and mood changes
  • Girls with yeast infections

While the symptoms of a child’s urination are common to all children, Marks explains that it can be more difficult for a small child to identify. If a child isn’t toilet-trained, they may not complain much about frequent urination. You should also know other common infant factors, such as fussiness, weight loss, and increased thirst.

When insulin is insufficient, the body will break down fat or muscle. This results in the production of ketones, an alternative source of fuel. If this process continues for too long, the ketone level will increase, leading to a dangerous condition known as diabetic Ketoacidosis.

Type 2 Diabetes And The COVID Connection

CHOP will test the blood sugar of children who show signs of diabetes and perform a complete exam. CHOP Diabetes Center for Children confirmed that type 2 diabetes cases doubled between 2019 and 2021. This was before the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This sudden rise in cases is likely linked to changes in lifestyle during the pandemic. Dr. Marks states that children have been less active because of the pandemic and restrictions on exercise and movement. Many children also didn’t have access to healthy meals served in school cafeterias.

“Since the pandemic, the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has more than doubled.” “It was crazy,” Dr. Marks adds. “The most comforting aspect is that we have observed a decline in cases following the resumption of in-person schooling.”

Get Diabetes Smart During National Diabetes Month

It is crucial to prevent type 2 diabetes, as the cases are increasing among children and adults. Diabetes is more likely to occur if you are inactive, obese, or have a history of type 2. To lower the risk of diabetes, lifestyle is crucial. Healthy lifestyles include:

  • Eat healthily most of the time.
  • Avoid eating too much.
  • Find whole fruits, vegetables, and other produce.
  • Avoid eating processed food and snacks.
  • Increase physical activity. The ideal is 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
  • Replace juice and soda with water.

These tips can help you lead healthier lives and prevent type 2 diabetes. CHOP can help you and your child maintain healthy habits and educate them about long-term health. Speak to your pediatrician about any concerns regarding your child’s health. If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, The Diabetes Center for Children at CHOP ranks as the No. 1 pediatric endocrinology & diabetes program in America. U.S. News & World Report ranked them No. 1 in the country. Their comprehensive treatment will educate you and guide your child to a healthy life.

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