Juvenile Diabetes

juvenile diabetes dietJuvenile diabetes is actually now referred to as Type 1 Diabetes. Because of the diseases traditional prevalence in children, it was traditionally referred to with the “Juvenile” moniker. Type 1 diabetes is the leading type of diabetes in children of every age and accounts for almost all cases in children less than 10 years old.

Type 1 diabetes also occurs in adults, with the rate of diagnosis rising each year. There are approximately 15,000 adults and 15,000 children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. Unfortunately, the rate of children 13 years old and younger being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes increases approximately 3 percent each year.

Most of the information on this site concerning this type of diabetes is found by looking under our type 1 diabetes resources, with a few exceptions noted below.

A Special Note Regarding Symptoms

We do cover type 1 diabetes symptoms elsewhere on this site. However, children are different than adults, so it is important to be mindful that you pay particular attention to the often subtle signs of juvenile diabetes. Many of the symptoms can be confused with other more common and benign ailments.

To review, the most common symptoms are increased thirst, urination and hunger. Additionally, weight loss, blurred vision and fatigue are also common.

Please be aware that these symptoms are often confused with gastroenteritis.

The key differentiation is that with diabetes, urination will typically increase, as opposed to gastroenteritis where the dehydration slows the urination.

Risk factors for contracting juvenile diabetes (i.e. Type 1 Diabetes) are primarily genetic combined with some form of environmental stimulus, such as a contracting certain viruses.

Special Issues Raised When Children Have Diabetes:

juvenile diabetesChildren with diabetes present special issues, because they are still maturing and diabetes care needs focus. Activities such as birthday parties, sleepovers, and playing sports, require special planning.

Blood glucose levels need to be monitored, insulin and medication needs to be taken and appropriate diets need to be followed. All of this can cause upset feelings in children and teens.

In particular, you need to work with your child’s school to develop what is known as a school 504 plan. This plan is required by federal law to outline the responsibility of the school and parent when it comes to the care of your child while they are in school. The document is not just for children with diabetes, but really any child with special medical needs, such as food allergies, etc.

Parents should assemble a team of advisers to help them with the care, including their physician, dietician, diabetes educators, teachers, etc. Parents also need to be vigilant for mental health issues, insulin dosage skipping and eating disorders. As children get older, alcohol, tobacco and drug use should be avoided.

Make sure you get a jump start on learning how to work within the juvenile diabetes diet. Transitioning a child to independence is important. Children need to learn how to care and treat for themselves as they get older.

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) provides excellent materials and resources concerning education and treatment of children with diabetes. Please take a look at our Cool Links page for links to NDEP and other resources.

To explore our overview of Type 1 diabetes you can start here.

Juvenile Diabetes Vaccine

The latest buzz is from a new drug that may be able to function as a diabetes vaccine for high risk children. If your child was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes or is a high risk candidate, you must read this article on a possible Diabetes Vaccine.

Other Great Resources For Children:

children's diabetes bookThe Bravest Girl In School: This book has been designed to help young children with diabetes to appreciate the importance of taking their insulin injections and being aware of what they eat.

Click here to learn more about this great book!


NIH Publication No. 11-3892, December 2011 (Accessed February 2013).
Type 1 Diabetes Facts, , JDRF ,December 2011 (Accessed February 2013).
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed June 2012.