Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic condition that can develop at any age, although it is not common before adolescence. It often has a slow, gradual onset making it difficult to detect and diagnose in children
According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020Trusted Source, about 210,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20 years in the United States have received a diagnosis of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is less common than type 1 diabetes in young adults. The statistical report shows that doctors in the United States diagnosed type 2 diabetes in approximately 5,758 children and adolescents aged 10–19 years between 2014 and 2015.
The rate of children with type 2 diabetes is increasing with an increase in people with obesity.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition that can lead to serious complications if a person is left untreated.
However, with a carefully controlled diet, lifestyle modifications, and medication to control blood sugar levels, the condition can be in long-term remission.
In this article, we explore the effects of type 2 diabetes in children
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children
Type 2 diabetes usually has a slow, gradual onset. As a result, symptoms can be difficult to detect and some children may have no symptoms at all.
StatisticsTrusted Source suggest that approximately 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 7.3 million of those may go undiagnosed.
Symptoms are similar in children, adolescents, and adults. Children with type 2 diabetes may experience the following symptoms
- Urinating more: Children with type 2 diabetes may urinate more often than before the condition developed. When there is excess sugar in the blood, the body will partially excrete it in the urine, and the excess water will follow.
- Increased thirst: Children with type 2 diabetes may begin to show a need to drink more than usual. This is because urinating more can cause dehydration, which leads to thirst.
- Fatigue: When the body doesn’t use blood sugar effectively, a child can become fatigue. The mental and physical discomfort of living with the more severe effects of diabetes can also cause persistent feelings of fatigue.
- Blurred vision: High blood sugar can draw fluid from the lens of your eye, making it harder for you to focus.
- Darkened skin Insulin resistance can lead to the development of a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans, which can darken areas of the skin. It usually affects the armpits and the back of the neck.
- Slow wound healing: High blood sugar can lead to longer wound healing time and skin infections.
Causes of type 2 diabetes in children
Problems controlling blood sugar, or glucose, are characteristic of diabetes. The pancreas normally helps a person control their blood sugar by releasing a hormone called insulin.
Insulin allows blood glucose to enter cells, leave the blood, and lower a person’s blood sugar levels.
In children or adults with type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or develops insulin resistance, in which cells become less sensitive to the effects of this hormone.
Type 2 diabetes can develop in anyone, including children. This condition is more likely to develop in people who are overweight or obese.
In the past, the medical community referred to type 2 diabetes as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. However, it is occurring more and more in children and adolescents as obesity rates continue to riseTrusted Source.
Risk factors type 2 diabetes in children
Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by causing insulin resistance. This occurs when organs and tissues do not respond appropriately to insulin or absorb enough sugar from the blood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, obesity affected approximately 18.5% of people aged 2-19 in the United States in 2015–2016.
The authors of a study from 2017 found that people under the age of 25 who fell into the body mass index (BMI) range due to obesity were four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those under the age of 25. people with a lower BMI.
BMI is a method for comparing height and weight that is intended to provide an overview of health, although people should use it as a general guide rather than an accurate representation.
According to a prospective cohort study from 2013. Researchers looked at the results of a survey of 37,343 women in France who provided information about their childhood smoke exposure. their.
Women whose parents smoked while growing up had an 18% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those whose parents did not smoke.
More than 75%Trusted Source Children with type 2 diabetes have a relative with the condition, either genetic or due to living habits. Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of the disease.
According to the CDCTrusted Source, type 2 diabetes is more common among people of African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Natives. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk.
Diagnosis type 2 diabetes in children
To diagnose type 2 diabetes, the doctor will ask about the child’s symptoms and they may take a blood sample to check the blood glucose level.
Your doctor may also use a simple urinalysis to screen for sugar in the urine.
In the United States, blood tests to diagnose diabetes include:
- Fasting blood glucose: Doctors do this test in the morning when a child is hungry. Fasting blood glucose results of more than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) are an indicator of diabetes
- Glycated hemoglobin (A1C): This test checks how much glucose attaches to red blood cells over time. Doctors consider a diagnosis of diabetes if the A1C reading is greater than 6.5% or 48 millimoles per liter.
- Random blood glucose: Your doctor orders this test at a random time of day. The medical community considers someone to have diabetes if their random blood glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dl.
For a reliable diagnosis, a medical professional may need to perform these tests on two separate cases.
Your doctor may also order a variety of tests to check for other factors, such as glucose tolerance
Treatment type 2 diabetes in children
Treatments for type 2 diabetes are often the same in children and adults, including recommendations for diet, lifestyle, and exercise, although the FDA has approved fewer drugs for children.
A child with type 2 diabetes may need to monitor blood glucose levels frequently.
If a child is not able to do this on their own, a parent or caregiver may need to prepare and train in how to check a child’s blood sugar.
Responsible teachers, coaches, and caregivers may also need to know how to administer insulin to children with type 1 and 2 diabetes who need daily vaccinations. Other adults who may care for the child, such as a babysitter or relative, will require similar instructions.
For children with type 2 diabetes who are taking insulin, caregivers may also need to know how and when to inject glucagon in situations where the child’s blood sugar drops excessively. Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates the release of stored glucose from the liver. It can be very important to reverse hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Daily lifestyle choices are extremely important for children with diabetes. These include weight management, regular physical activity, and dietary changes.
Children taking insulin, and perhaps all children with diabetes, should wear a diabetes bracelet that contains important information in case they do not react during an episode of hypoglycemia.
The bracelet should say “diabetes” on one side and provide the necessary details, such as “insulin controlled”, on the other.
This is especially important for children taking insulin because they may not know the symptoms of hypoglycemia well enough to ask for help. If a child passes out due to low blood sugar, a diabetes bracelet can help an adult understand the right medication needed to treat it.
Your doctor may also prescribe other medications that help your body respond better to insulin.
Your doctor will personalize your treatment and diet plan according to your child’s age and needs and the severity of the condition.
Prevention type 2 diabetes in children
Prevention of type 2 diabetes mainly involves developing healthy living habits, such as the following:
Maintaining a moderate body weight
Ensuring that body weight is just right for one’s height and gender can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A doctor or dietitian can advise parents or carers and children about a target weight range and recommend an individualized program for weight loss, if necessary.
Eating a well-balanced diet
Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods and diets, and there is no one best diet for diabetes.
If a child has type 2 diabetes, doctors often recommend limiting intake of added sugars and carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index (GI) rating.
Measuring carbohydrate intake can ensure that a person is not consuming more carbohydrates than their doctor recommends in their individual diet plan. There is no single recommended amount of carbohydrate that is right for everyone.
The type of carbohydrate is also important to consider. GI measures how fast glucose enters the bloodstream after people eat a particular food. High GI foods raise blood sugar faster than low GI foods.
Low-GI foods include sweet potatoes, most fruits, and oatmeal.
Breads and cakes made with white flour can cause blood sugar to spike. Instead, a diet for managing type 2 diabetes should include plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Fruit is a great dessert option for children or adults with diabetes.
This type of food supports more effective blood sugar control
Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health in children with diabetes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children aged 5–17 years get at least 60 minutesTrusted Source of moderate or vigorous physical activity each day. Adults can encourage children to play outside and participate in sports, if possible
at least 60 minutes It may also be helpful for adults to encourage children and adolescents to cut back on video games, television, and similar devices and to create opportunities for active time as a family.
It can also be helpful for adults to encourage children and teens to cut back on video games, television and similar devices and to create opportunities for active family time.
Children with type 2 diabetes are at risk for potentially serious complications, most of them later in life, including heart disease and stroke. These risks are increased if diabetes is not well controlled.
Other complications and conditions that health professionals associate with type 2 diabetes include:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol levels in the blood
- eye damage, or diabetic retinopathy
- nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy
- kidney damage and failure, or diabetic nephropathy
- pregnancy complications or higher risk pregnancies
Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children as rates of childhood obesity continue to rise.
This condition can be difficult to detect and diagnose in children. Doctors are still uncertain about the long-term effects of having type 2 diabetes at a young age.
Healthy living habits, such as a balanced diet and plenty of physical activity, can help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes in children.
It is essential that caregivers have the right regulations and knowledge to avoid or respond quickly to emergency situations.
How do I know if my child has type 1 or type 2 diabetes?
The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar in many ways, and it’s not always possible to tell which type a child has right away.
Although the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing faster than type 1, type 1 diabetes is still more common in children. Children with type 1 diabetes are usually at a moderate weight or lose weight, but children who are overweight can also develop type 1 diabetes. Children with type 1 diabetes often develop symptoms more quickly, and they are often sicker than children with type 2 diabetes when their doctor diagnoses them. Talk to your doctor if your child has new symptoms such as increased thirst or urination, unexplained weight loss, or if there are other concerns about the symptoms of diabetes.
Originally posted 2021-10-23 11:36:26.