Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, affecting as much as 90% of diabetic patients. Type 2 diabetes in children is a long-lasting
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Condition that has a significant effect on the way the body handles sugar content. Formerly known as adult onset diabetes, today diabetes type 2 has been affecting more and more children and adolescents. In the last fifteen years, there has been on average, a twenty fold increase in the number of children with diabetes type 2. One of the main reasons why type 2 diabetes is affecting a larger number of children is obesity. For over two decades, obesity has been one of the major health issues affecting the well-being of children, teens and adolescents.
However, by taking the health of your child in your own hands, you can do a lot to help manage type 2 diabetes in children. From making changes to a child’s eating habits to their level of physical activity, there are lots that can be done to manage and prevent further diabetic complications.
Type 2 Diabetes in Children
Sugar (glucose) is one of the main sources of energy for our body, but too much of it in our bloodstream can be dangerous. The pancreas is responsible for making a special hormone called insulin. Insulin is used in the conversion of glucose to energy and the lack of insulin can keep sugar levels high in the body. When you eat, the pancreas releases a proportionate level of insulin. However, when in no longer does, it creates a chronic condition known as diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children is when the pancreas does make insulin, but it is not efficient in converting the sugar content to energy, which the body needs for everyday functions.
Which Children are at Risk?
The onset of type 2 diabetes in children is very closely linked to obesity. Research and diagnosis has both shown that the majority of children with diabetes are obese. With a rising population that is both eating unhealthy and obese, there are more and more health complications to be worried about. Apart from obesity and unhealthy meals, the following factors also play a role in a child’s chances of getting diabetes,
- The lack of physical activity from a young age
- Being part of a ethnic group or family that has a history of diabetes
- Having a high lipid count in the bloodstream
- The increase of blood pressure (hypertension)
As you can see, certain family and ethnic traits can have an impact on your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. A few ethnic origins that are high risk for diabetes include African Americans, Asians and Latinos. However, certain prevention steps can lower your risks, despite your ethnic or family characteristics. It is recommended that obese children be screened at the age of ten for diabetes type 2 or when puberty kicks in. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the easier the treatment and further prevention will be.
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in Children
From a young age, children need to be well fed and they should get enough physical exercise as it promotes positive long-term health. It can also reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in children. In managing and preventing diabetes in children, there are a number of things that can be done. The following are some type 2 diabetes prevention tips:
- Participate in more physical exercise, whether it be sports or gymnastics
- Eat healthy meals that have enough nutrients, vitamins and protein
- Cut down on junk foods, soda, fat dairy products and sugar content
- Replace fatty products with low-fat alternatives
- When hungry, only eat healthy snacks
- Focus on losing weight
Carefully following all the steps outlined above can have a tremendous affect on your child’s overall health. Not only will this help manage and prevent diabetic complications, but it promotes healthy living.
Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Children
It is not a good idea to rely on the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes to tell you whether your child has this condition. It many cases, the symptoms of diabetes are not always apparent, as they can take several years to show. Some children with diabetes type 2 may never show symptoms, which can be troublesome if you rely on the signs and symptoms.
However, there are certain symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children that you should be aware of:
Frequent Urination: As there’s a high level of glucose in the body, its instant reaction is to expel most of the excess level through urine. The body is also low on energy, which causes thirst very often. The child will be drinking lots more water, which is also another reason for the frequent urination.
Lack of Energy: The conversion of glucose to energy is vital for the body the lack of it can cause fatigue. The child will be very lazy and unwilling to participate in activities and school work. It can really affect a child’s performance in school, which the teacher will quickly notice. Despite how much they eat, they will always feel hungry, tired and thirsty – making it hard for them to get up and willing have fun.
In some rare cases, some children with type 2 diabetes may also get a specific skin condition, known as acanthosis nigricans. It is when small dark patches are formed on the skin on some parts of the body, including the elbows, fingers, neck, arms and knees.
Diabetic complications could also cause fertility and menstrual problems for females when they get older.
If nothing is done to help manage and prevent further diabetic complications, it can lead to more severe health problems. Diabetes is related to cardiovascular health problems, strokes, vision impairments and kidney problems. The earliest diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in children is the best course of action in healthy long-term prevention.