COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -According to statistics from the World Health Organization, over 400 million people are currently living with diabetes.
Around 22 million people are reportedly not diagnosed, and besides this growing number of people affected, their ages continue to decline.
“We had a one-year-old who was teething and was crabby, and we didn’t think much about it. He was drinking more in the Georgia heat. Again, he would be fine, normal acting. Then one Saturday he started vomiting, and we knew okay, something was going on," says Caroline Rowell, mother of a one-year-old boy.
Rowell says her 16-month-old son went from being happy and energetic to strapped to a hospital bed, all in the span of two months.
She now wants to warn of the symptoms and share how their life changed seemingly overnight.
“I had no idea we would be battling for his life everyday. Insulin is his life support and without it, he would die," says Rowell.
Diabetes is broken down into two categories, Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 is most common is children, where the body stops producing insulin. Type 2 is most prevalent in adults where the body does not react to insulin properly.
In both, symptoms include frequent urination, extreme thirst, and fatigue along with other symptoms.
“Children are getting diagnosed with diabetes at very young ages. We have babies and toddlers diagnosed up into adulthood," says Dr. Kristen Hendrix, pediatric endocrinologist at Endocrine Consultants. “Diabetes affects the heart, the blood vessels, our eyes, our digestive systems, and when you have had diabetes for a very long time, those risks go up.”
To date, there’ is no known cure.
Doctors say the key is recognizing symptoms and working towards delaying the development of diabetes.
For people and children living with Type 1 Diabetes, the fight is a little bit harder.
“I just want people to know, there’s nothing that my son or anyone with diabetes did that caused this. I wish that people understood they are battling for their lives everyday,” said Rowell.
For Rowell and her son Swift, and the rest of their family, they are ready for the journey.
“He is just one tough cookie. We had to fight to get him here and he has been a fighter ever since. He just takes it like a champ and I am so thankful for that," says Rowell.
Swift uses a continuous glucose monitor to help monitor his levels.
He is reportedly one of the youngest cases of diabetes to be treated at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.
Doctors say knowing how to deal with diabetes can be difficult, but with extra care, it is possible to live happy and healthy lives.