MYTH: Only kids get type 1 diabetes, and only adults get type 2 diabetes.
TRUTH: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune version of the disease that usually affects children and teens, but it can strike at any age, says Jerry Palmer, M.D., director of the Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. Around 1.7 million people suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but is now a growing problem in children ages 10 to 19. In 2003, about 3,700 kids ages 19 and under were diagnosed with type 2, and that number is expected to escalate annually. Typically, children with type 2 are obese and have a family history of the condition. These factors increase the risk of insulin resistance and deficiency—the body doesn’t use insulin properly or make enough—hallmarks of type 2 diabetes.