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Information on Diabetes for Teens

author image Candice Coleman
Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.
Information on Diabetes for Teens
Teens who have diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Diabetes can be frightening to teenagers who do not know what it is, and it can be alarming to parents who do not know how to manage it. A doctor can diagnose diabetes and give your teen more information about treatment and management options. Most teens who learn to manage their condition properly will enjoy good health.

Types Of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease destroys the body's ability to produce insulin, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Without insulin, the sugar that your teen takes in from food cannot fuel the body's cells, according to KidsHealth. Teens who have Type 2 diabetes can still produce insulin, but the body reacts to it in an abnormal way, and sugar cannot get into the body's cells. A related condition, prediabetes, involves blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but are not yet high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Prediabetic teens may experience similar, but with symptoms that are less severe, than people who have diabetes.

Risk Factors

Those who have a family history of Type 1 diabetes, as well as those who are white or have been exposed to certain viruses, may have an increased risk of contracting Type 1 diabetes. Teens face increased risk of Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight, sedentary and eat a diet high in processed foods, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If your teen has a family history of diabetes, she should speak to her doctor about what she can do to prevent contracting the illness.

About Diabetes

About 215,000 people aged 19 and younger have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program. About 1 out of every 1 million teens dies each year, as a direct result of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Teens who are African American, Asian American, Native American or Hispanic face an increased risk of contracting diabetes. Economic status may play a role, with diabetes risk increasing as income goes down, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional Information

If your teen suspects that he has diabetes, or if his doctor has diagnosed him with pre-diabetes, speak to your teen's doctor about what he can do to manage his condition and to prevent complications from diabetes. Teens who have Type 1 diabetes may receive daily insulin injections, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Doctors may also regularly monitor blood sugar levels, in addition to giving diabetic teens a diet and exercise plan to follow.

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