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Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Endocrine Conditions > Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

About The Condition   Causes   Signs And Symptoms
Diagnosis And Treatment Options   Tips   Research


What Is Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition which leads to high blood sugar levels. There are two types of Diabetes Mellitus: Type 1 and Type 2. Insulin is an important hormone that is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas, an organ that is located near the stomach. Insulin allows glucose in the bloodstream to enter the body cells to be converted into energy.


In Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, the body is unable to produce enough insulin. In Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, the body is unable to utilise the insulin effectively (insulin resistance). As a result, the glucose stays in the blood and the body cells cannot convert it to energy.


There are more children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus than Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Singapore1. However, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children is increasing due to a widespread increase in childhood obesity1.


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Causes of Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is an autoimmune condition in which the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. It can occur at any age but more commonly in children and young adults. The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is still not clear. It is likely to be due to both genetic factors and environmental triggers which include viruses.


Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The cause of insulin resistance is usually obesity even though it may also be caused by some medications. These children often have other family members who also have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.


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Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes Mellitus

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

  • Always feeling thirsty or hungry
  • Going to the toilet more often, even in the middle of the night
  • Weight loss despite eating a lot
  • More tired
  • Tummy pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Bedwetting


Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

  • Always feeling thirsty or hungry
  • Going to the toilet more often, even in the middle of the night
  • Darkening of skin over the back of the neck or in the armpits (also known as Acanthosis Nigricans)


Most of the time, children with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus may not display any symptom or the symptoms may develop gradually. Diagnosis is incidentally made during a health screening.


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Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Diabetes Mellitus

Good control of Diabetes Mellitus in children and adolescents is very important to prevent them from having early complications to the kidneys, eyes and nerves.


Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Insulin injections are the only treatment available and there are different ways in which the injections can be delivered. These include the needle and syringe, insulin pens and insulin pumps. There are also different types of insulin with different duration of actions (ultra short-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting insulin). The insulin regime will be customised according to the child’s lifestyle and eating habits.


Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The diagnosis can be made with an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In this test, the child will drink an orange-coloured sugar drink. Blood glucose (sugar level in the blood) will be tested before the drink is taken and 2 hours thereafter.


Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus will include diet control, oral medications and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, there are some children whose blood glucose is significantly high and they may need insulin injections to better control their condition.


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Tips For Taking Care Of Children with Diabetes Mellitus

Even though there is no cure for Diabetes Mellitus, there have been major advances in treatment. With proper care and management, a child with Diabetes Mellitus can continue to lead a healthy and active life. Managing Diabetes Mellitus as a child or adolescent is not easy. As such, motivating them is important to ensure good diabetes control and support from family, friends, school and healthcare workers is very important.


Our Child and Adolescent Diabetes Support Group organises an annual camp, motivational courses and parent support groups for diabetic children and their families under our care. For more information on our support group, please click here.


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Research On Diabetes Mellitus

Clinical research is vital to the advancement of medical care. Our doctors are passionate about contributing to the future of child health and medicine not only through clinical practice but also research.


  1. Tan ML, Khoo EY, Griva K, Lee YS, Amir M, Zuniga YL, . . . Wee HL (2016). Diabetes Health Profile-18 is Reliable, Valid and Sensitive in Singapore. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 45(9):383-393.
  2. Venkataraman K, Tan LS, Bautista DC, Griva K, Zuniga YL, Lee YS, . . . Wee HL (2015). Psychometric Properties of the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) Instrument in Singapore. PLoS One, 10(9):e0136759. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136759
  3. Tan VM, Ooi DS, Kapur J, Wu T, Chan YH, Henry CJ, Lee YS (2015). The role of digestive factors in determining glycemic response in a multiethnic Asian population. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(4):1573-81. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0976-0
  4. Tan VM, Lee YS, Venkataraman K, Khoo EY, Tai ES, Chong YS, . . . Khoo CM (2015). Ethnic differences in insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function among Asian men. Nutrition & Diabetes, 5:e173. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2015.24
  5. Lim YY, Loke KY, Ho CW, Kimpo MS, Lee YS (2015). Ovarian germinoma accelerating the presentation of diabetes mellitus. Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 37(1):e55-6. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000238
  6. Tan LSM, Khoo YHE, Tan CS, Griva K, Mohamed A, Lee YS, . . . Wee HL (2015). Sensitivity of three widely used questionnaires for measuring psychological distress among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, 24(1):153-62. doi: 10.1007/s11136-014-0747-z
  7. Tan VM, Wu T, Henry CJ, Lee YS (2015). Glycaemic and insulin responses, glycaemic index and insulinaemic index values of rice between three Asian ethnic groups. The British Journal of Nutrition, 113(8):1228-36. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000586
  8. Co MA, Tan LS, Tai ES, Griva K, Amir M, Lee YS, . . . Wee HL (2015). Factors associated with psychological distress, behavioral impact and health-related quality of life among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 29(3):378-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2015.01.009
  9. Tan LSM, Dianne CTB, Khoo YHE, Griva K, New M, Lee YS, . . . Wee HL (2014). WHOQOL-BREF among Singaporean Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus: What Does It Measure? British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, 4(17): 3293-316. doi: 10.9734/BJMMR/2014/9054
  10. Venkataraman K, Khoo CM, Leow MK, Khoo EY, Isaac AV, Zagorodnov V, . . . Lee YS (2013). New measure of insulin sensitivity predicts cardiovascular disease better than HOMA estimated insulin resistance. PLoS One, 8(9):e74410. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074410
  11. Todd AL, Ng WY, Lee YS, Loke KY, Thai AC (2002). Evidence of autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase in oral fluid of type 1 diabetic patients. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 57(3):171-7.
  12. Ng WY, Lee YS, Todd A L, Lui KF, Loke KY, Thai AC (2002). Tyrosine phosphatase-like protein (IA-2) and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65) autoantibodies: a study of Chinese patients with diabetes mellitus. Autoimmunity, 35(2):119-24.
  13. Lee YS, Ng WY, Thai AC, Lui KF, Loke KY (2001). Prevalence of ICA and GAD antibodies at initial presentation of type 1 diabetes mellitus in Singapore children. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism : JPEM, 14(6):767-72.


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Our Team

We have a team of paediatricians and paediatric nurses specialising in endocrinology and diabetes mellitus. We deliver comprehensive diagnosis and management for a wide variety of disorders of the endocrine glands and hormonal problems in infants, children and adolescents.


Click here to find out more about our Division of Paediatric Endocrinology.


Source: 1PubMed



The information provided on this page is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your child’s health, physical fitness or medical conditions.