Type 2 Diabetes in Children - Cause
The exact cause of
type 2 diabetes is not known. But experts believe the
disease develops in children the same way it does in adults. The body does not
produce enough of the hormone
insulin, or it cannot correctly use the insulin
available (insulin resistance). Either or both of these
conditions lead to excess sugar (glucose) in the blood.
Insulin resistance occurs when
the body's cells do not correctly use insulin, which helps control the amount
of glucose in the blood. The body then needs more insulin to control blood
sugar levels. The
pancreas produces more insulin to try to keep blood
sugar levels normal. If it cannot produce enough insulin, blood sugar rises,
and diabetes may develop.
Factors that affect the body's
resistance to insulin in childhood include:
- Developmental stage. Insulin resistance
normally increases about 30% during puberty, probably because of the effects of
- Being female. Girls seem
to develop more resistance to insulin than boys.
- Race. The body's
resistance to insulin is about 30% higher in African-American teens than in
- Body composition. Insulin
resistance increases as the amount of
fat around the waist increases.
- Activity. Exercise may improve how the
body's cells use insulin and get the sugar they need.
Too little insulin
Normally, the pancreas produces
more insulin than usual during puberty to support the rapid growth of the
child. If the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet its needs, diabetes
develops. Over time, the pancreas may produce less and less insulin, making the