What does Type 2 Diabetes Look Like in Children?
Type 2 diabetes used to be associated with adults, hence the name “adult onset” diabetes, but with the increase in childhood obesity and the increase in intake of sugary foods by pregnant moms and in infants and toddlers, type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes rates are starting to increase among children.
Facts and Stats about Type 2 Diabetes in Children
- 1 in 3 American children born after 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes in his or her lifetime (CDC) (CDE)
- Over 186,000 people under the age of 20 have diabetes – both type 1 and type 2 (CDC) (WebMD)
- Risk factors include: being of an ethnic group such as African, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian; having a BMI (body mass index) above the 85th percentile for age, gender, weight to height; family history of type 2 diabetes in a first or second-degree relative; being over the age of 10 and the onset of puberty
- Type 2 diabetes means that the body is resisting the insulin the body uses to move glucose from the bloodstream to the cells, so blood glucose levels rise
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Children
The below list is adapted from the American Diabetes Association and WebMD:
- Increased hunger, even after eating
- Unexplained weight loss
- Increased thirst, dry mouth, and frequent need to urinate
- Blurred vision
- Heavy breathing
- Slow healing of sores or cuts
- Itchy skin
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Dark velvety or ridged patches of skin on the back of the neck or under the arms
- High blood pressure or abnormal blood fats levels
- Irregular or no periods, and/or excess facial and body hair growth in teenage girls
Management of type 2 diabetes mainly involves monitoring nutrition, increased physical activity and regular testing of blood glucose levels. For some children, medications improve the body’s ability to use insulin properly. Optimal blood glucose level in toddlers and preschoolers is 100-180 mg/dl before meals and 110-200 overnight (between 8.5 and 7.5).
Since no one treatment works ideally for every patient, it is important to be patient and to listen to your doctor’s recommendations to find the right plan for your child. Not getting control of your child’s blood sugar issues now, could mean heart, kidney, weight, and vision issues later on.
Darlene Oakley is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.
Children and Diabetes – More Information. Centers for Disease Control. Web. Mar 7, 2012.
Identifying Children with Diabetes. National Diabetes Education Progra. Web. Mar 7, 2012.
Type 2 diabetes in children. Mayo Clinic. Web. Mar 7, 2012.
Type 2 Diabetes in Children. WebMD. Web. Mar 7, 2012.
What you Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children. American Diabetes Association. Web. Mar 7, 2012.
Type 2 Diabetes Information. California Department of Education. Web. Mar 7, 2012.