Diabetes Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lindsy Frazer

Dr. Frazer has taught several college level Science courses and has a master's degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Library and Information Science.

You might have heard that diabetes has something to do with sugar. Read this lesson to learn some facts about diabetes like what diabetes is, what its connection to sugar is and what the different types of diabetes are.

Sugar High

Imagine eating a candy bar, ice cream and a big piece of cake all for one meal. Wow! That's a lot of sugar! How do you feel after you eat sugar? Most people feel pretty energetic and hyper, at least for a while.

So it isn't a surprise that glucose, a sugar, is one of the body's main sources of energy. All of the cells in your body use glucose as fuel, just like a car uses gas to run.

Feeding Your Cells

How does that sugar from your Snickers bar get to your cells? After you eat, your stomach changes the food into glucose. This glucose makes its way into your bloodstream. But, glucose can't make it from your blood to your cells on its own, it needs help! The pancreas, an organ in your belly, makes insulin. Insulin is a hormone or a special chemical that is basically a tour guide for glucose. It helps glucose get inside your cells.

How Glucose Travels into the Bloodstream.

What do you think would happen if there was no insulin? What if insulin didn't do its job? Glucose wouldn't be able to make it into cells. Right? With nowhere else to go, the glucose would build up in the bloodstream. This is what happens when someone has diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body uses glucose. There are two different types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

If someone has type 1 diabetes, his/her pancreas does not make any insulin. So, the glucose gets stranded in the blood stream and builds up. High amounts of sugar in the blood can make people very sick.

Doctors and scientists are not really sure what causes type 1 diabetes, but they think it has something to do with a person's genes. Genes are basically the instructions for making the body passed down to people from their parents.

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