With the rise of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children in the US, it’s now more important than ever for both parents and children to understand ways to prevent diabetes, as well as being able to identify the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A pediatrician is an integral part of your child’s health, providing everything from screenings and vaccines to routine checkups and lifestyle recommendations to ensure that your child stays healthy.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects glucose levels in the body. When the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin do not produce enough insulin or are insulin resistant, this results in diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed during childhood and is not the result of a poor diet or being overweight. In those with Type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes in children.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is also becoming increasingly common in children because of the high rates of obesity. Type 2 diabetes means that the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Ensuring that your child eats right, gets regular exercise and maintains a healthy weight can greatly reduce your child’s risk for type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of childhood diabetes?
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes will appear suddenly, while type 2 symptoms will develop over time. Symptoms may include:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urination
- Extreme tiredness
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
- Sudden weight loss
- Cuts or sores that don’t heal
- Dark patches of skin
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child it’s best to see a pediatrician right away. The sooner a diagnosis is made the sooner your child can get the proper medication and treatment they need to manage their blood sugar levels. By managing your child’s diabetes right away our doctors can prevent potentially serious complications and hospitalizations.
How is diabetes treated?
There are a variety of lifestyle modifications and medications that will be recommended to help treat your child’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For both forms of diabetes, a healthy diet and active lifestyle are paramount. Talk with your doctor about what foods your child should avoid. You will also want to monitor your child’s glucose levels during the day to make sure that the insulin medication is working effectively.
All children should visit their pediatricians regularly for checkups, vaccines and care. Of course, if your child displays any symptoms of diabetes, call our office immediately.