There’s a lot going on in your body to give you the energy your body needs. You need energy to run, swim, dance or play in your backyard. Your body uses sugar (called glucose) as fuel for energy. Just like a car uses fuel from a gas station to run, you get your fuel for energy by eating. Foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, fruit, yogurt and milk have sugar in them.
When you eat, the sugar goes into your blood. To make your body work, the sugar needs to go from the blood into the cells. That’s where insulin shows up! Insulin is made in a part of your body near the stomach called the pancreas. Insulin acts like a key for a door into the cell. Insulin opens the door to let the sugar go from the blood into the cells.
If you have diabetes, the insulin does not work like it should. If the insulin isn’t able to open the door into the cell, then the sugar stays in the blood. When the amount of sugar in your blood gets too high, it can make you sick.
With Type 2 diabetes, your pancreas makes insulin, but your body doesn’t use it like it’s supposed to. Sugar isn’t able to go into the cells. When the amount of sugar in your blood gets too high, it can make you sick. Your pancreas will then start making more insulin. Sometimes the pancreas starts to wear out and isn’t able to make enough insulin any more.
You may be more at risk of having type 2 diabetes based on your family history and culture. The risk for type 2 diabetes also increases for people who are overweight or are not getting enough exercise. Sometimes, children show no signs of having type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will look for risk factors and will find out if you have type 2 diabetes based on blood tests.
The good news is your diabetes can be treated. There are a few things you’ll need to do, and your parents and your diabetes team can help you.
Your treatment might include a few different things. This may include taking insulin or taking another kind of medicine. You will have to test your blood sugar levels regularly. It may also mean making changes to eating habits and getting more physical activity.
Having diabetes won’t stop you from doing what you love. Being active and doing the things you like to do – such as playing soccer, swimming or dancing – would be part of your plan to be healthy. That way you can be your best, feel your best and do your best!