Type 1 diabetes has been known as juvenile diabetes for some time, but the rate at which children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is also on the rise. 1 in 400 kids and teens has diabetes, according to Diabetes.org.
Diabetes in Children
Children are diagnosed with diabetes when their pancreas is unable to produce insulin that is needed to break down carbohydrates. Without the cells to break down the carbs, too many sugars are left in the blood stream, wreaking having on their growing bodies. Long term effects of diabetes in children include heart disease, amputations, blindness, nerve damage and kidney failure.
Causes of Diabetes in Children
While there is no definitive answer as to the cause of childhood diabetes, the consensus is that genetics, stress, exposure to certain viruses and environmental cues may play a role. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes is often associated with a family history and being overweight. Carrying extra abdominal fat specifically increases their risk of becoming diabetic.
Childhood Obesity Linked to Diabetes
It’s no coincidence that childhood obesity has also been on the rise. Child obesity has tripled over the last 30 years. “The increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth is the first consequence of the obesity epidemic among young people, and is a significant and growing public health problem, according to the “Overview of Diabetes in Children and Adolescents” from the National Diabetes Education Program.
Treatment Plan for Diabetic Children
New research shows that some cells are able to make insulin with some help, according to a study at Columbia University Medical Center. Until this type of medicine is available to help cells function properly, there are a few things you can do to help your child manage their diabetes. The most common method of treatment is an insulin shot. How often the shots are given depends on your child’s specific needs and how much is necessary to regular blood sugar levels. A healthy, high fiber diet and a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise can also help control diabetes in children.
Probably the most important thing you can do for a diabetic child, however, is to help them monitor their blood sugar levels. It is the spikes in blood sugar that ultimately cause bigger health issues. Testing this level several times per day and charting the numbers can help regulate the blood sugar levels and prevent further damage.