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Advocate Christ Medical Center news

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215,000 Strong and Growing!

By 2020, the Rate of Diabetes in Children Under Age 5 in the U.S. Will Double

Oak Lawn, Illinois — The only thing more alarming than a chronic disease that already affects more than 200,000 children in the United States is one that is expected to continue expanding its reach at exponentially higher rates.  In fact, physicians at Advocate Children’s Hospital—Oak Lawn anticipate that, by 2020, the diabetes rate among children under age 5 in certain populations may be double what it was in 2000.

Ask Cynthia Dykas, mother of Jack, age 6, who was diagnosed two years ago as having Type 1 diabetes.  At the time, Cynthia thought her son simply had a “bladder infection” because of his frequent trips to the restroom.  However, after the surprising diagnosis, she wondered if he would be able to maintain a normal life.

“Often, the symptoms of diabetes can be overlooked,” said Vidhya Viswanathan MD, pediatric endocrinologist, Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn. “In Type 1 diabetes patients, the pancreas doesn’t make any insulin; for these children, insulin is a lifesaving medication.”

Today, as an avid Little League baseball player, Jack -- with the occasional help from mom -- has mastered the art of monitoring his daily intake of carbohydrates and his glucose levels.  Jack does this seamlessly with the help of his royal blue insulin pump, which he proudly displays on the waistline of his pants. 

Kendall Simmons, a former NFL player and member of the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XL championship team, knows firsthand the challenges that can result from having diabetes.  At the height of his career, he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes and had to work with his doctors to “tackle” disease before he could return to the football field and help his team win the Super Bowl.  Now, he travels throughout the country sharing his story of triumph over diabetes and encourages others to overcome the disease.

To enhance families’ knowledge of juvenile diabetes, the endocrinology team at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn will be hosting a free Diabetes Fair on Sunday, April 28, from noon to 3 p.m., in the auditorium of Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn, 93rd Street and Kilbourn Avenue, Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear Kendall Simmons; Monica Joyce, director of Slam Dunk Basketball Camp; and Sue Apsey, associate director of the American Diabetes Association. 

Endocrinologists also will provide fair-goers with free body-mass-index screenings and blood testing measurements.

More information about the pediatric endocrinology team or the upcoming pediatric diabetes fair at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn is available by calling 1-855-312-KIDS (855.312.5437) event code # 1D06.  Also, watch the YouTube video on juvenile diabetes at

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About Advocate Children’s Hospital
As part of Advocate Health Care, Advocate Children’s Hospital is the largest network provider of pediatric services in Illinois and among the top 10 in the nation. The two main campuses are located in the Chicago metropolitan region – Oak Lawn in the southwest and Park Ridge in the northwest, with additional services accessible at other Advocate hospitals throughout the state.  Advocate Children’s Hospital serves as a major referral center for infants and children.  Through a special, wholistic approach, Advocate Children’s Hospital combines some of the country’s most respected medical talent with exceptional and compassionate care.  In fact, the children’s hospital has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s leaders in pediatric cardiology and neonatology, and numerous physicians have been cited as being among the “Top Doctors” regionally and nationally in their respective fields.  Advocate Children’s Hospital is staffed by more than 400 pediatricians and 230 pediatric subspecialists who offer a wide range of services for children.


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