Phoenix Children's Hospital pushing to raise awareness on 'World Diabetes Day'

PHOENIX - Phoenix Children's Hospital is one of several organizations making a big push to raise awareness of diabetes on this "World Diabetes Day."

There are 26 million people in the US both adults and children with diabetes and millions more are considered pre-diabetic.

One in 400 children and adolescents have diabetes.

Dr. Donald McClellan a pediatrician and specialist at Phoenix Children's Hospital said he has seen a drastic increase in the number of cases over the decades.

"There used to be a time when we wouldn't see any cases of diabetes in children," he said. "Now we have at least a hundred patients."

McClellan said there are increases in the numbers of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 is the juvenile on-set and is more tied to genetics and family history. 

Type 2 is often caused by lifestyle choices like poor diets and inactivity.

Nurses like Martha Kratchman at the hospital help kids cope. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes more than 20 years ago. Her son also has it. 

"It is so much information at first it can be overwhelming," she said. "It is possible to have a normal life and it can be managed."

McClellan explained that research for new medications is often limited to adults in trials.

PCH is starting new programs to do limited trials in children with medications that have been proven effective in adults.

McClellan explains that there are risk factors for diabetes out of your control but you can make changes in your lifestyle to significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

"This has to start at the elementary age," he said.

People who are overweight, inactive, have high blood pressure, and a family history of the disease are at highest risk for developing diabetes.

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