Diabetes among children is now more common and most kids aren't aware they have symptoms of the disease, reports Correspondent Wendy Rigby of CBS affiliate KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas.
Doctors are urging parents to get their children screened for the disease. In children who are left untreated, diabetes can take its toll early.
Fifteen year-old Lauren Garza has lived with type 1 diabetes, the most common form among children, since she was four. She checks her blood sugar level often, and gives herself four daily injections of insulin.
"Just having to take my blood sugar and take insulin is kind of annoying because every time I eat I have to do my blood sugar and everything like that."
Now more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes has fewer obvious signs and those not diagnosed can run into early health complications.
"Type 2 diabetes is very insidious," says endocrinologist Dr. Mark Kipnes. "It cannot be apparent for years and years and it can be present actually with the complications of diabetes which is what we're trying to avoid."
Those complications can include nerve, eye and kidney damage -- problems normally seen in older people with the disease.
"We're seeing kids as young as eight-years-old with type 2 diabetes," says Kipnes.
Often, children with type 2 diabetes can be treated with the same drugs as adults, but correct dosages are under investigation.
Lauren and her family know it's a disease you shouldn't ignore.
"People kind of look at it and they're like, 'It's not that big a deal,' but it kind of is because it takes up a lot of your time and energy to do everything that's necessary," says Lauren.
Adding to the sense of urgency is a rise in obesity and a lack of adequate exercise among children.
A simple test to determine if your child is diabetic takes only a few minutes. Blood taken from a finger prick or from a blood draw can check the blood sugar level and determine if your child needs further testing.