Worldwide, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing. And children are not exempt. They too, despite their young age, suffer from this type of diabetes. How can you identify if your child has symptoms of type 2 diabetes and when should you take him to the doctor? In this article we tell you.
According to the American Diabetes Association, while the rise in type 2 diabetes in children is partly due to genetics, it is also due to environmental factors. Diet and lack of exercise contribute to the increase in the rate of type 2 diabetes in our children, to the point of considering it an epidemic closely linked to obesity .
Type 2 diabetes in children, just like in adults, is a chronic condition that affects the way they metabolize sugar or glucose. You as a father or mother have the possibility of helping to prevent diabetes in your children by teaching them to eat healthy and pointing out the importance of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. However, if it is already too late and your son or daughter suffers from obesity, you need to be alert to the signs that may indicate that they already have type 2 diabetes.
First of all, you should know that type 2 diabetes in children can develop gradually. This means that they do not necessarily have symptoms. However, other children do have symptoms that may include:
- Urinating frequently and being very thirsty . This is because as sugar or glucose builds up in children’s bloodstreams, fluids are absorbed from the tissues. This causes the child to feel thirsty, drink a lot of fluids and, as a consequence, have to go to the bathroom much more frequently than usual.
- Increased appetite . When there is not enough insulin to transport glucose (sugar) to the cells, the organs and muscles suffer a great lack of energy that manifests itself in being very hungry. Sugar is high in the blood but low in the rest of the body.
- feel fatigue This occurs as a result of the lack of sugar necessary for children to have energy. For this reason they can become irritable and feel tired or fatigued all the time.
- See blurry . When blood glucose levels are very high, children’s eyes can leak fluid that prevents them from focusing properly.
- Having dark spots on the skin. Type 2 diabetes causes some children to have patches of darker skin, usually in the armpits and neck or in other areas of the body where they have folds. This coloration may be a sign of insulin resistance.
- Weightloss. Although the symptoms of diabetes make children more hungry and eat too much to calm it down, they may lose weight because energy is not being stored by the cells and the muscles and tissues shrink.
- Frequent infections or wounds that heal very slowly. Type 2 diabetes makes children’s bodies more vulnerable to infection and wounds take longer to heal.
If your child presents these symptoms, he could have type 2 diabetes. You should go to the doctor to have a series of tests done and the diagnosis established . Screening for type 2 diabetes is also recommended for all children and adolescents who are at high risk of developing it, even if they do not have symptoms. Children who are at high risk are:
- Those who have siblings, parents, grandparents, uncles or cousins who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
- Those who are Hispanic, African-American, American Indian, or of Asian origin. These racial groups are genetically more predisposed to getting type 2 diabetes.
- Children whose body mass index (BMI) exceeds 85% .
Remember that diabetes, despite being a chronic and incurable disease, can be prevented. If your children are at risk, act now. Implement changes in their lifestyle and take them to the doctor for a blood test to determine if they are diabetic or not. It is time to stop this epidemic and to have healthy children who become healthy adults.