Overview of type 2 diabetes in children
Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic disease that affects the way your child’s body processes sugar (glucose). Without treatment, the disorder causes sugar to build up in the blood, which can lead to serious long-term consequences.
There is a lot you can do to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes in children. Encourage your children to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. If diet and exercise are not enough to control type 2 diabetes in children, oral medications or insulin treatment may be needed.
In type 2 diabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond to insulin and glucose rises in the bloodstream. This is called insulin resistance. Eventually, your body sugar levels will be too high. It can lead to other conditions in the future, such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
Causes of type 2 diabetes in children
Being overweight is closely tied to the development of type 2 diabetes. Overweight children have an increased likelihood of insulin resistance. As the body struggles to regulate insulin, high blood sugar leads to several potentially serious health problems.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American children and adolescents have more than tripled their risk since the 1970s. Genetics also play a role. For example, if a parent or guardian has this condition, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases.
Symptoms & Signs
Type 2 diabetes develops gradually in children, so there are no noticeable symptoms. Sometimes the disorder is diagnosed during a routine checkup.
Other children may experience:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination. The excess sugar in your baby’s bloodstream draws the fluid from the tissues. The result can be your child’s thirst, and drinking and urinating more than usual.
- Fatigue. If your child seems extraordinarily tired or sleepy, changes in blood sugar may be affecting their energy levels.
- Darkened skin. Insulin resistance can lead to the development of a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans. It makes skin areas darker. It often affects the armpits and the nape of the neck.
- Weightloss. Without the energy to supply sugar, muscle tissue and fat stores will shrink. However, weight loss is much less in children with type 2 diabetes than in children with type 1 diabetes.
- Frequent urination – A child with type 2 diabetes may urinate before the condition develops. When blood sugar is high, the body excretes some of the urine and the excess water follows. This can make the child urinate more often.
- Excessive thirst: Children with type 2 diabetes may begin to feel the urge to drink more than usual. Excessive urination can lead to dehydration and make your child especially thirsty.
- Blurred vision: High blood sugar levels cause fluid to drain from the lens of the eye, making it difficult to focus.
- Slow wound healing: High blood sugar levels take longer to heal sores and skin conditions.
Diabetes in children is most common between the ages of 10 and 19.
A child may have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes if:
- They have a sibling or other close relative with type 2 diabetes
- They’re of Asian, pacific islander, native American, Latino, or African descent
- They show symptoms of insulin resistance, including dark patches of skin
- They’re overweight or obese
A 2017 study found that children with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 85% were four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Current guidelines recommend that any child who is overweight or retarded and has at least An additional risk factor is considered the diabetes test.
How to prevent type 2 diabetes in children
You can help children avoid diabetes by encouraging them to take the following steps:
- Practice healthy habits. Children who eat well-balanced meals and limit their intake of sugar and refined carbs are less likely to become overweight and develop diabetes.
- Regular exercise is important for preventing diabetes. Organized sports or neighbourhood pick-up games are great ways to get kids moving and active. Limit television time and encourage outside play instead.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Healthy diet and exercise habits can help children maintain a healthy weight.
If diabetes is suspected, your paediatrician may recommend a screening test. Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in children generally requires abnormal results from two tests performed on different days. There are many blood tests for diabetes.
- Random blood sugar test. The blood sample is taken at random. A random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams (mg / dL) per deciliter, or 11.1 millimoles (mmol / L) per litre, or more, even if your child ate the last time.
- A1C test. A1C levels of 6.5% or more on two separate tests indicate type 2 diabetes. Also known as a haemoglobin A1C test or glycosylated or glycosylated haemoglobin A1C test.
- Oral glucose tolerance test. A blood sample will be taken after your child has fasted for at least eight hours or overnight. Then your baby will drink the sugar solution. Over the next several hours, your blood sugar levels will be rechecked several times. A blood sugar level of 200 mg / dL (11.1 mmol / L) or more usually means that your child has type 2 diabetes.
Treatment of type 2 diabetes
Lifelong treatment of type 2 diabetes and includes:
- Healthy foods
- Regular physical activity
- Blood sugar monitoring
- Insulin or other medications
- Weight loss surgery
Blood glucose monitoring
Your doctor will tell you how often to check and record your child’s blood sugar level. Children taking insulin usually need to be tested more often, perhaps three times a day or more. Finger pricks are usually needed to check blood sugar, although some blood glucose meters to be tested at other sites. The test is the only way to make sure your child’s blood sugar is within the target range, it may change as your child grows.
Because kids are still growing, the focus is on slowing down weight gain instead of losing weight. Your child’s dietitian will likely suggest that your child and the rest of the family consume fewer animal products and sweets.
Your dietitian is also likely to recommend that you:
- Eat lower-calorie, lower-fat foods.
- Decrease portion sizes, and don’t ask kids to finish everything on their plate.
- Substitute fruit or vegetable for a carbohydrate-rich food
Replace high-calorie beverages, such as soft drinks or fruit juices, with water.
- Eat at home more frequently instead of eating at restaurants.
Physical activity lowers blood sugar. Encourage your child to get at least an hour of aerobic physical activity a day and, better yet, to exercise with your children. Uptime doesn’t have to be everything at once, you can break it down into smaller pieces.
There are three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in children:
- Metformin (Glumetza, et al.)
- Liraglutide (Victoza), and insulin.
- Metformin is a pill and is given by the injection of liraglutide and insulin.