symptoms diabetes in children
October 28, 2021

Symptoms of Diabetes in Children

Diabetes rates are rising in young people. Early detection and treatment in children and teenagers can improve their health and wellness throughout life.

Which types of diabetes affect young people?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are different conditions, but they both affect the body’s use of insulin. Although type 1 is more common in young people, both types can affect children and teenagers.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes in children, previously called juvenile diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin.

Without insulin, sugar cannot travel from the blood into the cells, and high blood sugar levels can occur.

People can develop type 1 diabetes at any age, from early childhood to adulthood, but the average age at diagnosis is 13 years. An estimated 85%Trusted Source of all type 1 diagnoses take place in people aged under 20 years.

Treatment involves lifelong insulin use and blood sugar monitoring, as well as diet and exercise management, to help keep blood sugar levels within the target range.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is less common in young children, but it can occur when insulin is not working correctly. Without enough insulin, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream.

The chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases as people get older, but children can also develop it.

The rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing along with increases in childhood obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that obesity affected around 18.5%Trusted Source of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years in the U.S. in 2015–2016.

Over 75%Trusted Source of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative who has it, either due to genetics or shared lifestyle habits. Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes is linked with an increased risk.

Sometimes, the person will need medication. However, people can often manage type 2 diabetes by:

  • changing the diet
  • getting more exercise
  • maintaining a moderate weight

Symptoms Diabetes in Children


The symptoms of diabetes are similar in children, teenagers, and adults. Some symptoms are common in both types of diabetes, but there are some differences to help tell them apart.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children tend to develop rapidly over a few weeks. Type 2 diabetes symptoms develop more slowly. It may take months or years to receive a diagnosis.

Type 1 diabetes

The main symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents include:

  • increased thirst and urination
  • hunger
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • a fruity smell on the breath
  • blurred vision

Weight loss is a common symptom before diagnosis. Yeast infections in females can also be a symptom of diabetes.

Some people will be experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) at the time of diagnosis. This occurs when the body begins to burn fat for energy due to a lack of insulin. This is a serious condition that requires treatment.

People may be able to get a diagnosis before DKA develops by recognizing the four main symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

  • Toilet: The child might be using the bathroom frequently, infants may be having heavier diapers, or bedwetting may be occurring after being dry for some time.
  • Thirsty: The child may be drinking more fluids than usual but feeling unable to quench their thirst.
  • Tired: The child may be feeling more tired than usual.
  • Thinner: The child may be losing weight.

Type 2 diabetes

The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • urinating more often, especially at night
  • increased thirst
  • tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • itching around the genitals, possibly with a yeast infection
  • slow healing of cuts or wounds
  • blurred vision as a result of eye dryness

Another symptom of insulin resistance is the development of dark, velvety patches of skin, called acanthosis nigricans.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is another condition frequently associated with insulin resistance, though it is not a sign of it, per se.

Parents and caregivers should take their child to the doctor if they notice any of the above symptoms.



Diabetes Test is available at Amrita Medical Center ! BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY

Dr. Hanna Najjar


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