Diabetes Rates in Children Skyrocket

The numbers are alarming. More than 25.8 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. Nearly 180,000 of those are children and those numbers just keep growing.

A new study released shows the number of children living with Type 1 climbed 21% from 2000 to 2009. The number of children living with Type 2 diabetes climbed more than 30%.

Eleven-year-old Anja Busse is one of the 167,000 children in the U.S. living with Type 1 diabetes. You may remember her as the Antigo girl who started a petition for the American Girl Company to make diabetic accessories for their dolls after she was diagnosed in October.

"I wasn't feeling good. I was drinking a ton of water and going to the bathroom... a lot," Busse giggled.

Busse's mom took her to the doctor where she was diagnosed, just in the nick of time.

"I could have gone into a coma at that point," she said.

Busse's terrifying experience is why health care professionals like Laurie Meyer say parents need to keep their eyes peeled for symptoms of the disease.

"The most common symptoms are increased thirst, increased urination, getting up at night to urinate or wetting the bed, a sudden weightloss without any explanation," Meyer explained.

Meyer has been a nurse practitioner and diabetes educator for nearly 15-years. She says she's not surprised to see the startling jump in diagnosis.

"We are seeing a large number of children with both disorders," She told NewsChannel 7. "More type one in this area, but also we're seeing an increase in type two."

A trend Meyer calls baffling. Instances of Type 2 diabetes have been linked to the increasing rates of childhood obesity, but the increase in Type 1 still remains a mystery. Meyer says the best things parents can do is monitor their kids and encourage healthy living.

Anja, who's diabetes is now under control thanks to insulin, wants to end the stigma behind the disease.

"We want people to know Type 1 diabetes is and not just that diabetes is you ate too much sugar, you're really obese and stuff. That's what people think right away when they hear diabetes."

Despite the increased rates, doctors are not yet recommending diabetes screenings as part of children's "well visits.," but Meyer says if diabetes runs in the family you should make sure your doctor is aware.

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