Diabetes can be classified into two types: Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, which is exclusively diagnosed in childhood, and Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes which is nearly always diagnosed in adults.
Not all children who are diagnosed with diabetes actually have juvenile diabetes, however. In recent years, there have been children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as well.
Type 2 diabetes often develops because of lifestyle choices. This is especially the case when it develops in childhood. Often, Type 2 diabetes develops in part because of poor diet. However, diet is not the sole cause.
It is important to point out that this does not mean that all overweight children, or all children who have poor diets, are going to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It does mean, however, that compared with kids who are of a healthy weight and who have healthy diets, their chances of receiving this diagnosis are increased.
There are other symptoms of or factors associated with Type 2 diabetes in children. These include:
Childhood obesity, or a child who is over what is considered to be a healthy weight, will have a greater chance of being diagnosed with this form of diabetes. Another major risk factor is having members of the immediate family who have also been diagnosed with the condition, usually a parent.
Other symptoms, like constant thirst and a frequent need to urinate, are common to both types of diabetes. Feeling very lethargic, or tired all of the time, is also commonly reported as a symptom.
You don’t have to have typical symptoms to be diabetic, however. It is possible to have the condition and show few if any signs. Because of this, it is important that parents report family medical history to children’s physicians, especially whether any close relatives are diabetic.
In some cases where there is diabetes in the immediate family, a physician may test for the condition even when no symptoms are present.