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Diabetes Risk

Daily Dose

Diabetes On the Rise

1:30 to read

Diabetes continues to be a growing problem among our nation’s children.  Did you know that every year there are over 25,000 children diagnosed with diabetes?  


To begin with there are two different types of childhood diabetes, type 1 and type 2 and while both cause an elevated blood sugar, they also differ in many ways.


Type 1 diabetes was formerly called juvenile onset diabetes and is typically diagnosed in children and adolescents. Only 5% of those with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Many parents worry that their child may develop diabetes because they eat too much sugar…and while eating sugar is not good for you, it does not directly cause type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells ( insulin producing cells)  of the pancreas. Scientists are not exactly sure why this occurs, but it seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and actually has nothing to do with diet. 


Type 1 diabetes comes on suddenly and causes dependence on insulin for the rest of the child’s life. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually include extreme thirst, frequent urination (day and night), increased appetite and sudden weight loss. Children who develop type 1 diabetes appear tired, thin and sick. I tell many a parent who worry that their child is diabetic, that they really cannot miss the symptoms and just drinking a lot of water will not be the only symptom. 


Fortunately, the ways in which insulin is given continues to improve and most children now use an insulin pump which delivers insulin in a more consistent manner than in previous years.  But, even with new insulin delivery systems and the hopes for pancreas transplants, type 1 diabetes is challenging for a family to manage. 


Type 2 diabetes which was previously called “non insulin dependent diabetes” differs in that it was previously typically diagnosed in adults, but it is now rising in children.  In type 2 diabetes the body isn’t able to use insulin in the right way and the glucose in the blood stream is less able to enter the cells. This is called insulin resistance.  So, the pancreas tries to produce even more insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Over many years the pancreas may wear out completely. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes controlled with an oral medication rather than insulin.


Type 2 diabetes seems to develop more frequently in those children who are overweight, less active and often have a parent with diabetes. As more children in this country have developed obesity, the number of cases of type 2 diabetes has also continued to rise.  In many cases if a child changes their lifestyle and eats a healthy diet, loses weight and exercises the body may be able to restore normal insulin balance. In this way type 2 diabetes differs from type 1 diabetes.


If you are concerned that your child is showing any signs of diabetes make sure to consult your doctor.  Continue to promote healthy eating habits and daily exercise for all children!



Your Baby

Type1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease


Celiac disease is a serious immune disorder that can occur in children and adults. The disease causes the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Celiac disease may develop any time after wheat or other gluten containing foods are introduced into the diet, typically after 6-9 months of age.

New research suggests that parents of young children with type1 diabetes should be on the lookout for symptoms of celiac disease as well.

The study found these youngsters appear to face a nearly tripled risk of developing celiac disease autoantibodies, which eventually can lead to the disorder.

"Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease are closely related genetically," explained study author Dr. William Hagopian.

"People with one disease tend to get the other. People who have type 1 diabetes autoantibodies should get screened for celiac autoantibodies," Hagopian said. He directs the diabetes program at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle.

Symptoms of celiac disease include stomach pain and bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, fatigue and delayed growth and puberty.

Dr. James Grendell is chief of the division of gastroenterology at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He explained why knowing ahead of time that celiac may be developing can be helpful. 

"Early diagnosis of celiac disease is important to initiate treatment with a gluten-free diet to prevent complications, particularly growth retardation in children," he said.

"Other significant complications include iron-deficiency anemia, osteoporosis and a form of skin rash. Less common, but potentially lethal, complications include lymphoma and carcinoma of the small intestine," Grendell added.

Treatment for the disease is avoiding eating or drinking anything that contains gluten. Fortunately these days, there are many products that typically contain gluten but are now offered gluten-free. These products usually cost more than their gluten counterparts, but offer more of a variety in the diet.

While the study did find a link between type1 diabetes and celiac disease, that doesn’t mean that type1 diabetes necessarily causes celiac disease.

However, parents should be aware that if their child has type1 diabetes, he or she should be screened for celiac disease. Early intervention with the proper diet can increase the possibility of a good outcome as their child ages.

Story source: Serena Gordon,

Daily Dose

Diagnosing Diabetes

1:30 to read

After just wrapping up National Diabetes month, it seems a good time to review the fact that type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile onset diabetes (JODM) is diagnosed in about 13,000 children every year. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops producing insulin, which is the hormone that is necessary to take glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into the cells, which then provides the body energy.  Without insulin a person’s blood sugar continues to rise, which causes a myriad of effects.  In children the symptoms are increased thirst, weight loss (despite an increased appetite), new onset bedwetting, fatigue, and lethargy.  It is myth that children who eat a lot of sugar are at risk of developing diabetes, but it is known that there seems to be a genetic pre-disposition to developing diabetes, and there may also be a viral trigger involved.  Interestingly, type 1 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed during winter months when there are more circulating viruses.  

Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong disease, is treated with insulin. It was not uncommon to have children giving themselves 2 -3 shots of insulin a day. With improved delivery and monitoring systems many children with type 1 diabetes are now using insulin pumps which provide different amounts of insulin which can be programmed throughout the day.  There are also ongoing studies with pancreas and islet cell transplants as well as stem cell transplants, so stay tuned for new developments in the fight to cure type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes was previously thought to occur only in adults, but over the last decade there has been an increase in cases among children and notably adolescents. This is thought to be due to the increased incidence of obesity in children, which is a contributing factor to developing type 2 diabetes. In this case, while the pancreas continues to make insulin, it seems that body cannot use the insulin efficiently and the pancreas cannot keep up. This again causes the blood sugar to rise.   In this case many people do not realize that they are slowly developing diabetes and do not have the same symptoms as a child with type 1 diabetes.  One of the early signs may be a rash (acanthosis nigracans) which appears as thickened darkened skin along the nape of the neck or under the arms. 

For many children with type 2 diabetes losing weight and having a regular exercise routine will help to improve blood sugar levels and they may never require insulin.  But, this requires a commitment to lifetime lifestyle changes. 

Lastly, the days of totally restrictive diets for diabetics is “old news” as researches have found that a well balanced diet including some carbohydrates and fats, as well as portion control, are the key to maintaining healthy blood sugars.  This sounds like a healthy meal plan for everyone!

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