Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in children and young people. Type 2 diabetes is usually seen in adults but more young people are developing it.

The symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Weeing more often
  • Losing weight
  • Feeling very tired

If you are concerned your child may have diabetes speak to your GP urgently today. They will be able to check your child’s blood sugar level with a finger prick blood test.


Type 1 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own defence system (immune system) attacks the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.
  • We do not know what causes type 1 diabetes. It is not linked to lifestyle factors.
  • There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.
  • Type 1 diabetes is managed with injections of insulin.

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over days or weeks. It is important for diabetes to be diagnosed and treated urgently, to prevent children and young people becoming seriously unwell.

Type 1 diabetes is not common in children and is not always considered when children see a health professional.

If you think your child may have diabetes ask your GP to do a finger prick and urine test. If these results suggest diabetes they will be sent to the hospital the same day to see a paediatrician.

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Type 2 diabetes

  • Type 2 diabetes is where the body’s cells do not react to insulin or the body does not make enough insulin.
  • It is not an autoimmune condition.
  • There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. These include ethnicity, genetics and lifestyle.
  • You can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes with healthy eating, regular exercise and achieving a healthy body weight.
  • Tablets and insulin injections may also be needed to manage type 2 diabetes.
  • Your local community pharmacist can give free lifestyle advice and advice about medication by booking a new medicine service consultation.
  • Type 2 diabetes can develop over weeks or months. The symptoms may be less obvious compared to type 1 diabetes.


For further information on diabetes

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