Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Type 2 Diabetes in Children

A few years ago, children were seldom diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; this medical condition was quite a rare occurrence in young children, but it is not rare anymore. If your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, obviously you will be worried, but you must understand that with various advancements in the medical field, such a condition can be easily managed now. Let us discuss more on type 2 diabetes in children, what are the causes of this ailment, its signs and also learn about various treatment options available.


What is Type 2 Diabetes

When we consume carbohydrates our body breaks it down into glucose. The pancreas release insulin, a hormone that helps in the movement of this glucose from our blood to the various cells in our body, which in turn is used by our body as a form of fuel. However, when the insulin in your child’s body is unable to function, the glucose keeps getting collected in the bloodstream, making the levels of sugar in the body too high. Therefore, type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body is unable to process sugar. Insulin resistance may also lead to various other conditions such as kidney failure, blindness, and heart diseases too.


How Is Type 2 Diabetes Different from Type 1 Diabetes 

Many times type 2 diabetes may be mistaken for type 1 diabetes, until the more comprehensive tests are performed. However, there is a substantial amount of difference in both the types of diabetes. Where type 1 diabetes majorly occurs due to problems with the immune system, on the other hand, type 2 diabetes is generally seen in children because of hereditary reasons, but it is majorly due to the unhealthy or wrong lifestyle.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Following are some of the reasons that may cause diabetes in children:

  • Genetics play a major role; if a parent has this condition, there are chances that the child may have it too.
  • It may occur in case your kid is overweight or obese.

Who is More Likely to Get Affected 

Type 2 diabetes is more likely to affect kids in the following conditions:

  • If your child is overweight
  • The risk of type 2 diabetes is more in girls as compared to boys
  • If any of child’s siblings or any close relative has type 2 diabetes
  • If your kid has a problem of insulin resistance
  • Children of Asian, African-American, of American-Indian origin
  • If your child has an unhealthy eating habit and is mostly inactive

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes 

Here are some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children:

1. More Thirsty Than Usual

If your child is thirsty all the time, this may be due to the increased levels of sugar in his blood.

2. Frequent Bathroom Visits

Does your child keeps running to the bathroom for peeing every now and then? If yes, then this could be alarming. More amount of sugar in the blood leads to more sugar in the urine, and thus it explains the more bathroom visits.

3. Increased Hunger

If your child is hungrier than usual, this may be due to the undigested sugar in the body that decreases the body’s energy resources. As diabetic children do not have enough insulin in their body to fuel up their body’s cells, food becomes the next resource. Hence, a child eats more than usual.

A child hungry eating junk food

4. More Fatigue

As the body’s energy resources deplete, your kid may feel tired and lethargic, and this could be an indication that he may be suffering from type 2 diabetes.

5. Dark Skin Patches

Your child may suffer from acanthosis nigricans, a condition where the skin starts turning dark, particularly, around the armpits and neck. This usually happens when there is increased sugar levels in the body.

6. Sores Take More Time to Heal

If your child was injured and has a wound which is not healing, it could indicate to type 2 diabetes. Increased sugar levels in the body hamper the healing process, and it may take longer than usual for the wound to heal completely.

How Does Type 2 Diabetes Impact a Child’s Body

Type 2 diabetes can lead to various other health complications, if not managed properly or if it remains undiagnosed. Here are some complications that may impact a child’s body if he suffers from type 2 diabetes:

1. Common Complications

Here are some common complications:

  • High levels of cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Blindness
  • Amputation
  • Skin conditions
  • Stroke

2. Long-Term Risks

The long-term complications of type 2 diabetes occur gradually as your child grows. Some of the type 2 diabetes complications that are mentioned above may become severe and in some cases, these conditions can also lead to life-threatening conditions.

How Is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed

If your doctor suspects that your kid may be suffering from type 2 diabetes, your doctor may do a thorough check-up of your kid and may conduct the following tests too:

  • Blood glucose test
  • Urine glucose test
  • A1C test
  • Glucose tolerance test

How to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

The course of treatment for children is similar to that of adults. However, it may vary as per the severity and health of your child. Here are some treatment options that may be prescribed by your doctor:

1. Blood Sugar Monitoring

You may have to keep monitoring your child’s blood sugar on a regular basis. You may have to procure a blood glucose checking device for the same.

2. Healthy Diet and Physical Exercise

Your child may be given special dietary instructions that he should adhere to, and he may also be told about various exercises to lose weight and be healthy.

A child eating healthy food

Tips to Help Your Child 

Here are some tips that you may help your child manage this condition in a better way:

  • Keep monitoring your child’s blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that your kid maintains a normal and a healthy weight.
  • Help your kid to make better and healthier eating choices rather than loading on calories by eating refined and sugary food.
  • Make sure you are prompt in noticing any signs and symptoms of another ailment that may occur due to type 2 diabetes.
  • Make sure that your kid takes his medicines on time.
  • Engage your child is physically active and does not spend most of his time sitting or being inactive.
  • Be in touch with the doctor and be updated on your kid’s treatment plan and also learn about various changes that may be required.

Effective Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes 

As the famous saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so if you are wondering whether childhood type 2 diabetes can be prevented, the following points may answer your query:

  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle for your child and make him active to keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
  • Pay heed to your kid’s diet and give him a well-balanced diet.
  • Give water instead of any sugary beverage.
  • Give fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking in between the meals.
  • Help your kid to get some quality sleep.
  • If your child is overweight, help him lose extra weight.
  • Include low-fat dairy products in your kid’s diet rather than full-fat products.

When to Call a Doctor

The moment you spot the signs of type 2 diabetes in your toddler, seek immediate medical help. If this ailment remains undiagnosed, it may lead to life-threatening complications in kids of all age group. Prompt medical help will not only control your child’s symptoms, but it will also lower the chances of complications too.

Of course, if your child has type 2 diabetes, you will be worried, but don’t lose hope. Prompt diagnosis and medical assistance can help control this condition.