Diabetes is a condition in which glucose (sugar) levels in the blood are higher than they normally should be. There are several types of diabetes (each resulting from different causes) but the most common are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in childhood. People can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes from the age of 6 months all the way through young adulthood. Type 1 diabetes is an “autoimmune” condition in which the person’s immune system causes inflammation in the pancreas. This inflammation destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels. Care for type 1 diabetes involves treatment with insulin (using injections or an insulin pump) and frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels.
Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is less common in children than type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in adults but can also occur in teenagers and pre-teens. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is able to make insulin but the body does not respond properly to the insulin that is produced, resulting in high blood glucose levels. Being overweight, eating foods that are high in sugars and simple carbohydrates and being sedentary can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Becoming more active, following a healthier diet and maintaining a healthy body weight are essential for successful treatment. Type 2 diabetes can also be treated with medicines that help the body respond better to insulin or with insulin injections.