Is Your Child at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes was formerly found only in adults. But now doctors find the condition in a rapidly growing number of children in the United States. Poor diet and inactivity are at least partly to blame. Is your child at risk?
According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of young people (ages 10-19) diagnosed with the condition increased by nearly 5 percent each year between 2000 and 2012.
This uptick worries experts. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to end up with complications like heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, blindness and kidney damage. You’re more likely to see complications when your diabetes is not well controlled.
What are the risk factors for children?
These factors increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes in children and teens:
Family history of diabetes
Lack of physical activity
Obesity or being overweight
Ethnicity may also play a role in risk. The NEJM study found the rate of increase among Caucasian children was relatively low, but higher among African-Americans and Asian-Americans. Native Americans had the highest rate of increase at nearly 9 percent a year.
What symptoms should you watch for?
Most pediatricians will talk about weight loss or other treatment if your child’s body mass index is 85 percent or higher at a doctor’s visit. Another potential clue that your child may have diabetes is acanthosis nigricans, or a dark discoloration of the skin in the body’s folds and creases.
Unfortunately, most symptoms of type 2 diabetes often don’t show up until the condition is Continue reading