News 12 first @ five -- November 19, 2008
AUGUSTA, GA -- Cynthia Jennings spends her days teaching patients at doctor's hospital about the dangers of diabetes. She says it's important for people to learn because so many people have it and don't know.
"It is pretty serious type of disease that we don't pay that much attention to," said Cynthia.
So serious that 24 million Americans are affected by it; and 17 million are children.
"I'm seeing more in the adolescents, teen and early adulthood. We're seeing a bigger increase in that population," said Cynthia.
There are two kinds of diabetes. Type 1 also known as Juvenile and Type 2 which is mostly found in older adults.
"It can come from auto-immune viral attack on their pancreas and cause it not to function," said Cynthia.
Symptoms of juvenile diabetes include: frequent urination, blurred vision, weight loss, fatigue and the most common, extreme thirst.
"I've had people tell me they just can't get enough to drink a whole gallon of water at a time. So that's a big indicator when children are always thirsty, always thirsty," said Cynthia.
And gone untreated, Cynthia says type one can have damaging effects including heart and kidney failure; even nerve and brain damage.
"If their blood sugar is high enough and get to where they have ketoacidosis, they have symptoms of nausea and vomiting and that's getting into a pretty serious level in terms of blood sugar," said Cynthia.
Cynthia says it's a growing epidemic that can be stopped if we all take notice.
Normal blood sugar for children ranges from 150-180.If you'd like to have your child tested, all you have to do is call your doctor and a simple blood test will let you know if they're at risk.