Childhood diabetes isn’t common, but the last 30 years have seen a significant increase in the number of cases worldwide. For every 100,000 children, Type I diabetes has been diagnosed in 43 kids in Finland, 25 in Scotland, and 17 in England and Wales each year. And due to the increase in childhood obesity, Type II diabetes is becoming a problem as well among young people in the U.S. and Europe.
Diabetes occurs when there are abnormally elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is the hormone that moves glucose from the blood to other cells to use for energy. A lack or absence of insulin leads to abnormalities in metabolizing carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Glucose then builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body.
• Type I diabetes.
Previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, this type can occur at any age but usually strikes during childhood. With Type I diabetes, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and organs, including the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
• Type II diabetes
This type is characterized by the pancreas’s inability to produce adequate amounts of insulin, or the inability of the body to properly utilize the insulin that is produced.
Type II diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, and may account for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases.
Type II diabetics are usually overweight.
Click here to read on about the causes of childhood diabetes, its symptoms, and living with diabetes.