Type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile-onset diabetes, is often caused by an auto-immune reaction in which the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. For reasons that are still not fully understood, people with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. Unlike type 2, the only known risk factors in type 1 are family history and genetic susceptibility. The disease may affect people of any age, but usually manifests in children or teenagers with a sudden onset of symptoms. This type of diabetes is insulin-dependent, so injections must be given daily in order to control blood glucose levels. Many people use insulin pumps that deliver the drug via a catheter in either a steady, measured continuous dose, or as a surge dose, which is self-directed, around mealtime. Without access to insulin, the disease is fatal, but it is also paramount that people with type 1 diabetes monitor and adjust insulin dosage every day based on fluctuating blood glucose levels. Even controlled diabetes can have a negative impact on overall health.
Special consideration should be given to the needs of children diagnosed with diabetes. It can seem overwhelming for a child and parents to adjust to a new routine that requires daily injections, counting carbohydrates, and monitoring blood sugar. Although type 1 diabetes in children requires consistent care, advances in blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have improved daily management. Our compassionate pediatric endocrinology team can help you and your child overcome the challenges of the disease, enabling your child to experience the joys of childhood, as symptom-free as possible.
Type 2 diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes. It is characterised by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency, either or both of which may be present at the time of diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with being overweight or obese, which explains why the incidence rates are rising, especially among younger people. Rates of obesity worldwide have doubled since 1980, and 42 million children younger than age 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. Diagnosis is done through a variety of simple blood tests that measure blood glucose levels. The finger-stick glucose test, while useful for monitoring levels in patients already diagnosed, is not reliable for initial diagnosis.The disease can also go undiagnosed for years since the symptoms are usually not as obvious as in type 1. Through lifestyle changes, people with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition, although over a period of time, many rely on oral medications and or insulin.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes that raises blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It affects one of every 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications to the mother and infant. GDM usually disappears after pregnancy, however women with GDM and their children are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. About 50% of women with a history of GDM will develop type 2 diabetes 5 to 10 years after delivery.