Patient Care

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Children)

2023/10/24
What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition which leads to high blood sugar levels. There are two types of Diabetes Mellitus: Type 1 and Type 2. Insulin is an important hormone that is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas, an organ that is located near the stomach. Insulin allows glucose in the bloodstream to enter the body cells to be converted into energy.

In Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, the body is unable to produce enough insulin. In Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, the body is unable to utilise the insulin effectively (insulin resistance). As a result, the glucose stays in the blood and the body cells cannot convert it to energy.

There are more children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus than Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Singapore1. However, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children is increasing due to a widespread increase in childhood obesity1

‚ÄčType 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is an autoimmune condition in which the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body's own immune system. It can occur at any age but more commonly in children and young adults. The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is still not clear. It is likely to be due to both genetic factors and environmental triggers which include viruses.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The cause of insulin resistance is usually obesity even though it may also be caused by some medications. These children often have other family members who also have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Source: 1PubMed

What are the signs & symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus?
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Always feeling thirsty or hungry
  • Going to the toilet more often, even in the middle of the night
  • Weight loss despite eating a lot
  • More tired
  • Tummy pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Bedwetting
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Always feeling thirsty or hungry
  • Going to the toilet more often, even in the middle of the night
  • Darkening of skin over the back of the neck or in the armpits (also known as Acanthosis Nigricans)

Most of the time, children with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus may not display any symptom or the symptoms may develop gradually. Diagnosis is incidentally made during a health screening.

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