Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic disease that affects the way your child’s body processes sugar (glucose). Without treatment, this disease leads to a buildup of sugar in the blood, which can have serious long-term consequences.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults. In fact, it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fueled by the obesity epidemic.
There is a lot you can do to help manage or prevent type 2 diabetes in children . Encourage your child to eat healthy foods, get plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control type 2 diabetes in children, they may need to be given medications by mouth or put them on insulin therapy.
Symptoms of diabetes in children
Type 2 diabetes in children can develop so gradually that there are no visible symptoms . Sometimes the disorder is diagnosed during a routine checkup.
But some children trigger these symptoms:
– Increased thirst and urination frequent.
Excess sugar that builds up in the child’s blood draws fluid from the tissues. Your child may therefore be thirsty, drinking and urinating more than usual.
Lack of sugar in your child’s cells can make him exhausted.
– Blurred vision
If the sugar level in your child’s blood is too high, fluid may be aspirated from the lenses of your child’s eyes. Your child may be unable to focus.
– Dark areas of skin
Before type diabetes 2 does not develop, some areas of the skin begin to darken. These areas are often found around the neck or in the armpits.
– Weight loss
Without the energy provided by the sugar, muscle tissue and fat stores are simply reduced. However, weight loss is less common in children with type 2 diabetes than in children with type 1 diabetes.
When to See a Doctor
Consult your child’s doctor if you notice any of the signs or symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Undiagnosed, the disease can cause serious damage.
Screening for diabetes is recommended for overweight or obese children who have entered puberty or who are at least 10 years old and have at least one other risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include having a family history of diabetes, having signs of insulin resistance, such as dark patches of skin on your neck or armpits.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes in children
Researchers don’t fully understand why some children develop a type 2 diabetes and others not . Even if they have similar risk factors. However, it is clear that certain factors increase the risk, including:
Overweight is a risk factor significant cause of type 2 diabetes in children. The more fatty tissue children have, especially in the abdomen, the more cells in their body become resistant to insulin.
The less active your child is, the higher their risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps your child control weight, uses glucose for energy and makes your child’s cells more sensitive to insulin.
– Family history
The risk of type 2 diabetes in children increases if they have a parent or sibling with the disease.
– Age and sex
Many children develop type 2 diabetes in early adolescence. Teenage girls are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than teenage boys.
– Birth weight and gestational diabetes
Low birth weight and being born to a mother who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are both associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
– Premature birth
Babies born prematurely, before 39e at 10th week of gestation, have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Complications of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can affect almost every major organ in your child’s body. Including blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. The long-term complications of type 2 diabetes develop gradually over many years. Eventually, the complications of diabetes can be disabling or even life-threatening.
Complications of type 2 diabetes include the following:
high blood pressure
Diseases of the heart and blood vessels
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Keeping your child’s blood sugar level close to normal most of the time can significantly reduce the risk of these complications.
Prevention of type 2 diabetes in children
Healthy lifestyle choices may help prevent type 2 diabetes in children. If your child already has type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes can reduce the need for medication and the risk of complications. Encourage your child to:
– Eat healthy foods
Offer your child foods that are low in fat and in calories. Choose fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to vary the foods to avoid boredom.
– Do more physical activity
Encourage your child to become active. Enroll your child in a sporting activity or find activities to do together.
– Better yet, make it a family affair.
The same lifestyle choices that can help prevent type 2 diabetes in children can do the same for adults. The best diet for a child with diabetes is also the best diet for the whole family.
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