What is juvenile diabetes?

Insulin is the hormone the pancreas naturally produces that helps sugar in the blood cells enter other cells throughout the body to be used for energy.

Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease that prevents or restricts the pancreas from producing insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5-10% of all individuals with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, is caused by too much sugar entering the bloodstream over an extended period. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas will begin producing more insulin to keep up with the high amount of sugar in the bloodstream; however, over time, cells throughout the body stop responding to the increased amount of insulin, also known as insulin resistance. The pancreas continues to produce more insulin in an attempt to get the insulin-resistant cells to respond but eventually fails to keep up and declines.

People of any age can develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes.


What can make diabetes difficult to manage and diagnose is that symptoms may not be apparent right away. Additionally, symptoms of diabetes can be similar to symptoms of other conditions, so you may not be aware that you have diabetes. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

    • Dry skin
    • Frequent urination
    • Persistent hunger and thirst
    • Blurry vision
    • Prone to infections
    • Nausea

Diabetes Complications

Allowing type 1 or type 2 diabetes to go untreated can cause a buildup of too much sugar in the bloodstream which can lead to a variety of complications, including:

    • Heart disease
    • Nerve damage
    • Kidney damage
    • Eye damage
    • Skin conditions
    • Hearing impairment
    • Increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease

How to manage and regulate it

Much of diabetes management is done yourself, where you administer your insulin dosage of insulin based on your blood sugar levels. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes require different means to manage and regulate, so it is extremely important to consult with your child’s doctor about their care plan.

Tips to support your child’s diabetes

Teach your child about their own diabetes management. Getting your child involved with the processes of monitoring and controlling their blood sugar levels can help ease their anxieties and frustrations.

Develop a healthy eating plan. Adapt the structure of your child’s diet to control the amount of sugar entering their bloodstream.

Participate in regular physical activity. Exercise can make the cells throughout your body more sensitive to insulin after becoming insulin-resistant. Physical activity is also the first step in managing type 2 diabetes. You can support your child by participating in physical activity as a family.

Regularly visit and communicate with your child’s health care provider. Diabetes care will vary on a case-by-case basis so it is important to consult your child’s doctor about their care plan regularly.

Maxim’s pediatric care services

Maxim provides individualized care for medically complex children, including diabetes management. Our team of Licensed Practical Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses and Registered Nurses are fully screened and credentialed to provide skilled care to assist you and your child. Contact your local office to learn more about the Maxim’s services.