Can you Outgrow Juvenile Diabetes

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Can you Outgrow Juvenile Diabetes?

Diabetes refers to the condition in which blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels in the body are too high. There are two types of diabetes, noted as Type 1 and Type 2, and in the case of children who are diagnosed with a diabetic condition, there is conflicting opinion as to whether chldren can outgrow diabetes.

The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces insulin, which is required to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood and energy at the cellular level. Treatment for this type of diabetic condition requires daily insulin injections to replace lost insulin in the blood, as well as monitoring of food intake to reduce the likelihood of having too much insulin in the system.

In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas continues to produce insulin, but the body is unable to respond effectively to the presence of insulin in the system. While genetic factors seem to play a large part in the occurrence of Type II diabetes, it is most prevalent in persons whose diet results in unhealthy weight gain, which increases the risk for developing this condition.

Potential to Outgrow Type 2 Diabetes

Many people feel that children may outgrow their diabetic condition. Often times, the introduction of a balanced diet and sustaining weight loss is effective in helping children to outgrow this form of diabetes. In addition to reversing the effects of a poor diet to outgrow Type 2 diabetes, doctors are encouraged by findings that suggest an outgrowing of the condition with puberty. Since insulin is a hormone, many doctors are studying the effects of puberty on the body’s ability to effectively process insulin, and they are hopeful that developments can be made which will enable the body to adjust its insulin levels as it matures, thereby outgrowing the diabetic condition. In most cases, the blood sugar levels of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes improves in stability after puberty, therefore effectively “outgrowing” the severity of this type of diabetes.

The Myth of Outgrowing Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin dependant diabetes and juvenile diabetes, occurs most often in children and young adults, although symptoms can present themselves at any age. Contrary to popular thought, children cannot outgrow this type of diabetes. Symptoms of this condition include overwhelming thirst, frequent urination, lethargy, extreme hunger, dramatic weight loss, blurry eyesight, tingling in the extremities, and a marked slowing of the healing process after injury. While there is no known cause for Type 1 diabetes, scientists believe that a combination of autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are responsible for this type of diabetes. In any case, Type 1 is the result of the destruction of the cells of the pancreas which produce insulin. Barring any medical advances which would regenerate pancreatic cells, there is no hope for outgrowing Type 1 juvenile diabetes.


Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

Children’s Hospital Boston