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Despite popular belief, children can develop type 2 diabetes. For the longest time, doctors assumed that children could only develop type 1 diabetes, which is unpreventable and unpredictable, but recent studies indicate that type 2 diabetes is prevalent in a vast number of children younger than 20 years of age. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 208,000 children live with the condition. Though type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes IS preventable. If you are worried about your child’s health, keep reading for everything you need to know about this juvenile condition.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when a child’s body doesn’t respond well to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas creates to break down carbohydrates into a type of sugar called glucose. Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells so that the body can use it as fuel. When the body doesn’t respond to insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Eventually, the body’s sugar levels become too high, which results in other, more dangerous health conditions, such as kidney failure, heart disease and blindness. The leading cause of blood sugar build up is extra weight.
According to the CDC, once a child becomes overweight, he or she is twice as likely to develop diabetes. There are certain lifestyle factors that lead to obesity. Those include:
Fortunately, juvenile type 2 diabetes is preventable. In fact, doctors recommend using the same steps used to treat diabetes to prevent it. Those include:
Whether your child was diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, he or she is bound to feel some level of frustration. Living with diabetes is challenging for anyone, but for children and adolescents, it can be exceptionally difficult.
Before your child reaches adolescence, he or she may want to know why sweet treats are out of the question. As your child becomes a teen, he or she may wish to lead a more carefree lifestyle and stray from the prescribed treatment. These are all challenges that you and your child must address and overcome together.
“Rates of new diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes on the rise among children, teens.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0412-diabtes-rates.html
“How does type 2 diabetes affect children?” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/type-2-diabetes-in-children#1
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.