Childhood Diabetes

What is juvenile diabetes?
Juvenile diabetes, often referred to as Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a condition in which your child’s pancreas no longer produces the insulin your child needs to survive. For this reason, you/your child will need to replace the insulin.

You and your child must work together.
It is natural to be overwhelmed or concerned when you first learn that your child has diabetes. However, once you get over the initial shock, you must learn together about

proper diets with low carbohydrates, how to monitor your child’s blood sugar and how to give injections.

Thankfully advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved the management of Type 1 diabetes in children.

The number of children in the U.S. with diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association and data provided by the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released January 26, 2011) the following:

  • 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes—8.3% of the population
  • Individuals under 20 years old—215,000 have diabetes
  • About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents have diabetes

Understanding Insulin and Type 1 Diabetes
According to this is how your body works. Normally the hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas in low amounts. When your child eats a meal, sugar (glucose) from food stimulates the pancreas to release insulin. The amount released is proportional to the amount that is required by the size of the meal.

Insulin’s primary role is to help move certain nutrients (especially sugar) into the cells of the body’s tissues. Cells use sugars and other nutrients as a source of energy to function properly.

The amount of sugar in the blood decreases once it enters the cells. Normally that signals the beta cells in the pancreas to lower the amount of insulin secreted so that your child doesn’t develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). The destruction of beta cells that occurs with Type 1 diabetes throws the body into turmoil.

Sugar isn’t moved into cells because insulin is not available in children with Type 1 diabetes. When sugar builds up in the blood instead of going to the cells, the body’s cells starve for nutrients.

What are some of the symptoms of juvenile diabetes?
The common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in children include:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss/sometimes rapidly
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual moody/irritable behavior
  • Blurred vision
  • Yeast infections in girls

For facts about Type 1 diabetes contact the American Diabetes Association at or call 1-800-DIABETES.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is online at www.jdfcares.orgor call 1-248-355-1133.

Children’s Diabetes Foundation, visit or call 1-303-863-1200.