Living with diabetes blog

Take action to reduce risk of youth diabetes

By Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. April 23, 2016

Nearly 3,700 children and adolescents under the age of 20 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each year, according to SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, a multi-center study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control.

Traditionally, most children diagnosed with diabetes below the age of 20 have had type 1 diabetes. Now, type 2 is becoming more common.

The American Diabetes Association lists several risk factors for type 2 diabetes in young people:

  • Not active
  • Overweight
  • Other family members with type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • African American
  • Hispanic American
  • American Indian
  • Asian American

If your child or teen has type 2 diabetes, don't blame yourself. Help them change the risk factors that can be changed.

If your child or your teenager has type 2 diabetes, here are a few tips to keep blood sugars under good control and stay healthy:

  • Get exercise and physical activity. This helps insulin to open the doors to your cells to let glucose in.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Lose weight. When you weigh more your body needs more insulin. Just 10% weight loss can make a difference.
  • Take medication if prescribed. Some diabetes medications help your body to use insulin better. Others stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • Check blood sugar and bring a record book to appointments. Tracking blood sugar is a way to let health care providers know how well treatment is working.

Your child or teen should see a healthcare provider if he/she:

  • Feels sick, tired, sleepy, and thirsty
  • Goes to the bathroom to urinate frequently; gets up at night to urinate
  • Has no energy to play, work, or have fun
  • Has blurry vision.

If your child or teen starts taking care of themselves they can live a long and healthy life. Talk to your health care provider about your child or teen's risk for diabetes. If your child doesn't have type 2 diabetes, but has risk factors to develop diabetes, take action to lower the risk. Have a good week.

April 23, 2016