Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic endocrine disease in which there is a constant increase in blood glucose due to impaired glucose metabolism. It mainly occurs in adults, but nowadays, it is common in children who are keeping a sedentary lifestyle, having poor nutrition- sweets, chocolate, candy, waffles, baked goods, etc., and are overweight (especially of the visceral type).
In a child with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas continuously makes a hormone called insulin to help the glucose get into the body’s cells, but cells don’t respond to insulin. The condition is called insulin resistance. The main factors affecting tissue resistance to insulin in children include being overweight or obese, hereditary, and ethnicity.
If your child shows symptoms of type 2 diabetes, a doctor may recommend the following test:-
- Random blood sugar test:- Measures the amount of glucose or sugar in a person’s blood at any given time in the day.
- Hemoglobin A1C test:- measures the average blood sugar level of the past two to three months
- Blood Sugar Test (Fasting):- You need to give a sample in the morning after an overnight fast or not eating and drinking anything for 8 hours before the test except water.
Type 2 diabetes treatment in children
Treatment for type 2 diabetes in children includes constant blood sugar control, a healthy diet, and regular physical activity like exercise and yoga. Sometimes insulin or other medications are also included in the treatment. The regimen changes as a child grow. Following are the supportive methods used for controlling blood sugar.
- Diet:- Treatment of type 2 diabetes begins with dietary choices. What and how much your child eats affects blood sugar levels. Healthy eating habits are crucial for preventing and managing diabetes and its complications. The essential diet plan includes 50% carbohydrates, 20% proteins, and 30% fats and is committed to regular 5-6 healthy meals a day in a limit. Your child’s food should be high in fiber (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and low in calories and fat. Try to avoid or limit sweets and foods that contain high fats (especially one that comes from animals). Take advice from a dietician or nutritionist to understand the best diet for your child’s condition.
- Daily exercise:- Daily exercise for type 2 diabetes is a must. The exercise routine for a child should be on the advice of a physician. Adequate physical activity helps to improve glycemic control and increases tissue sensitivity to insulin. It also enhances the absorption of glucose in the muscles and helps to maintain blood sugar levels. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes take at least 30 to 60 minutes a day to do moderate physical activity and not spending more than 2 hours a day in front of the TV, computer, or gadgets.
- Therapies & Medications:- Healthy diet and exercise are essential elements in blood sugar control in children with type 2 diabetes, but sometimes oral hypoglycemic drugs and insulin therapy play an important role.
- Drug:- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends metformin (Fortamet, Glucofash, Glumetza) for all children with type 2 diabetes. Metformin reduces the amount of sugar the liver releases into the bloodstream between meals.
- Insulin:- AAP recommends insulin therapy if your child has a blood glucose level of 250 mg / dL (13.9 mmol / L) or higher when measured randomly or an HbA1c level above 9%. Also, having excessive ketones (toxic acids) in urine (diabetic ketoacidosis).
Type 2 diabetes risk factors
Your child is at high-risk for developing type 2 diabetes if:-
- Body mass index (BMI) is above 30
- Family history of type 2 diabetes (sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin)
- Belongs to a race of Hispanic, African American, American Indian, or Asian American and Pacific Islander
- Cardiac complications:- High blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, diabetic cardiomyopathy, contractility dysfunction, and cardiac autonomic neuropathy
- Renal failure (poor kidney function)
- Vision impairment (weakened eyesight) or diabetic retinopathy
- Difficulties in controlling weight and hypoglycemia
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent children from developing type 2 diabetes and its complications. If your child already has type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes can reduce the need for drugs.
Encourage your child to:
- To eat healthy food. Offer your child foods that are low in fat and calories. Keep your diet based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The best diet for a child with diabetes is the best diet for the entire family.
- Increase physical activity. Encourage your child to be active. Sign up for sports or dance classes, or spend time actively together.
- If your child already has type 2 diabetes, be sure to have routine eye exams every year to understand early signs of eye disease.