Diabetes is, at its most basic, a metabolism disorder. Our body does not properly use the food we eat as it should. Diabetic diseases are conditions, or diseases, that develop as a result of this metabolism failure. Most food is broken down by the digestive system into glucose. Glucose is the form that sugar takes on in the bloodstream and in the healthy body; it is the main source of energy or fuel that keeps us going. Diabetes can be controlled or even eliminated. The more serious concern is the diabetic diseases that develop when diabetes is not treated properly, or not treated at all. And these diabetic diseases are often way more serious to our health than the diabetes itself. They can include some or several of the following:

  • Kidney disease
  • Urologic diseases
  • Endocrine and metabolic diseases
  • Hematologic diseases
  • Obesity
  • Eye diseases


What Are Some Symptoms of Diabetes in Youth?


Children and teens can develop either type 1 or 2 diabetes. Type 1 comes on quicker, with type 2 seeming to be more related to the child’s lifestyle. But diabetes in youth of both types shares some common symptoms:

  • Unusual thirst. It is brought on by built up sugar levels taking fluids from the body’s tissues, making the child feel dehydrated.
  • Frequent urination. Quenching that thirst means drinking more water or other drinks. Diabetes in youth is often first seen as an increase in both thirst and urination to the watchful eye.
  • Hunger. When the sugar isn’t turned into energy, hunger develops, especially if there is not a lot of body fat. This is easier to spot in diabetes in youth that are skinny. Obese children will not be so easy to see this symptom in, but the obesity does increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Unexplained weight loss. See the item above. When the sugar doesn’t convert to energy, the body uses fat reserves for energy, so a diabetic teen will lose weight without trying.
  • Fatigue. The diabetic teen will be tired because the blood sugar isn’t being turned into energy.
  • Vision problems. Diabetes in youth often creates blurry vision because even the eyeball’s fluid is taken. Dryer eyes will cause blurry vision. Be sure to take a sugar level test as well as an eye exam.


The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study


This national multi-center study is an effort to try to understand the causes of diabetes in youth and young adults. Launched in 2000, the study will continue through 2015 and attempt to gain a better understanding of the reasons our children get diabetes, and how to help diabetic youth learn to live with, and perhaps conquer diabetes. They offer many resources and perhaps even a chance for you to participate if you feel the need or think you can help. There are locations all across the United States. Diabetes in youth does not have to just be accepted, and it shouldn’t. Know the symptoms, and get more information if you suspect diabetes may be affecting someone in your family.