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Health Information For Teens
Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. Your body needs glucose to keep running. Here’s how it should work.
The pancreas is a long, flat gland in your belly that helps your body digest food. It also makes insulin. Insulin is kind of like a key that opens the doors to the cells of the body. It lets the glucose in. Then the glucose can move out of the blood and into the cells.
But if someone has diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin (this is called type 1 diabetes) or the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should (this is called type 2 diabetes). The glucose can’t get into the cells normally, so the blood sugar level gets too high. Lots of sugar in the blood makes people sick if they don’t get treatment.
Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. Doctors can’t even tell who will get it and who won’t.
In type 1 diabetes, a person’s immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells that make insulin. No one knows for sure why this happens, but scientists think it has something to do with genes. Genes are like instructions for how the body should look and work that are passed on by parents to their kids. But just getting the genes for diabetes isn’t usually enough. In most cases, something else has to happen — like getting a virus infection — for a person to get type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes isn’t contagious, so you can’t catch it from another person or pass it along to your friends. And stuff like eating too much sugar doesn’t cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is different. Sometimes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can still make insulin, but the body doesn’t respond to it in the right way. This problem is usually related to being overweight. In the past, mainly overweight adults developed type 2 diabetes. Today, more kids and teens have type 2 diabetes, probably because more kids and teens are overweight.
Getting to a healthy weight is one way to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Making healthy food choices and getting enough exercise are other good steps to take. If a person makes better food choices and becomes more physically active, it can help prevent diabetes from becoming a problem.
Some people are more likely to get type 2 diabetes than others based on things that can’t be changed. For example, people with a Native American, African, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian/Pacific Islander racial/ethnic background are at higher risk for getting type 2 diabetes. And people who have family members with type 2 diabetes are also more likely to develop it.
If you want to help keep yourself from getting type 2 diabetes — or just be healthier in lots of other ways — take these steps:
Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.
Weight can influence diabetes, and diabetes can influence weight. Managing weight can really make a difference in a person’s diabetes management plan.
People who have diabetes may hear or read a lot about controlling, or managing, the condition. But what is diabetes control and why is it so important?
Thinking about your diabetes a little bit now â and taking some steps to prevent problems â can make things easier down the road.
Teens with type 2 diabetes have to pay close attention to what they eat and do.
Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. In type 1 diabetes, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells where it’s needed.
Lots of people are unhappy with their present weight, but aren’t sure how to change it – or even if they need to. Get the facts on weight loss here.
Teens with diabetes can exercise and play sports at the same level as everyone else, so whether you want to go for the gold or just go hiking in your hometown, diabetes shouldn’t hold you back.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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