Type 2 Diabetes in Children
Under normal circumstances, rising glucose levels (a type of sugar) in the blood cause the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin allows the glucose in the blood to enter the cells of the body and be converted into energy. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body loses its ability to respond properly to insulin.
In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become progressively less sensitive to insulin and, therefore, very large amounts are required for glucose control. Unfortunately, the pancreas cannot maintain this elevated level of insulin production indefinitely, and eventually the body loses the ability to produce all the insulin it needs. At this point, blood sugar levels rise. Despite these high blood sugar levels, symptoms of diabetes may either be absent or so mild as to escape attention.
In contrast, type 1 diabetes, occurs only after the pancreas is severely damaged by the body’s immune system. The damaged pancreas can no longer produce adequate amounts of insulin. Therefore, instead of the high levels of insulin and insulin resistance seen in type 2 diabetes, very low levels of insulin occur in type 1 diabetes. As a result, sudden serious illness requiring emergency insulin treatment is quite common in type 1 diabetes.
Obesity is the major cause of most type 2 diabetes because the tissue of overweight people frequently becomes resistant to insulin. Since physical activity improves tissue sensitivity to insulin, physically inactive people also have tissues that are more insulin resistant.
The short-term effects of type 2 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Possible long-term effects of type 2 diabetes include:
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.