A child doesn’t develop diabetes on its own. It could be more of the genetic factors, their food eating habit which comes from their parents and also the active/ passive lifestyle example which their parents set in front of them.
There is no doubt on the enormous love we shower on our children’s. But, the cruel truth is, we are the one responsible for our child to lurk in the danger of living a diabetic life. We give or strive to give our children the best education, the best place to live and work hard to fulfill their needs, wants and sometimes demands too.
A few years ago, the only possibility of a child being diabetic was type 1 or juvenile-onset diabetes; type 2 diabetes was very rare in children. Not anymore. The fast changing lifestyle, exposure to varied eating habits, stress, family history, ethnicity and our problems with insulin resistance are leading to young children getting affected by both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. How can you prevent this risk to your child’s health?
Let’s first understand what exactly happens in type 2 diabetes:
- Our digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into blood sugar glucose
- Pancreas creates a hormone called insulin to lead glucose from the blood vessels into the cells of the body which is used as energy in our body
- In case of type 2 diabetes, the cells in a child's body become resistant to the effects of insulin and thus glucose builds up in the bloodstream
- Eventually, this accumulating glucose reaches at dangerous levels in our body
- As time passes, our body progressively becomes less able to handle all the glucose in the blood vessels
- The high blood sugar can then lead to diabetes complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and many other complications
Now, we know how type 2 diabetes affects our body, but are there any external factors also which puts a child riskier and prone to diabetes? We are afraid but the answer is, YES:
- If you have family history of diabetes
- Being overweight puts you at increased risk
- Female gender is comparatively riskier than male
- Certain ethnicity like Asian, African, Latin and African/Asian-American groups are largely more prone to diabetes
Above all, the single largest risk factor for a child to get affected by type 2 diabetes is excess weight. An obese child has more than double risk of being affected by diabetes. The obvious reason for a child to get obese at such young ages is the fast food culture which categorically can be called as unhealthy food. Add it up with the complete lack of interest in physical exercises or the indifference attitude for participating in outdoor games, the culture which we owe to our technological advances in the form of video and online games, excessive time spending on internet and televisions. Our food and lack of exercises shows the upsetting side effects in form of abdominal weight. Such obesity patterns increases the chance of insulin resistance and thus type2 diabetes. Of course, the tendency to inherit the diabetic risk from parents and largely affected through our genes is also one of the main reasons for young children to suffer from diabetes.
As a medical specialist actively engaged in diabetes treatment for decades, I can very well understand the parents concern for their loved ones. Obviously, as a parent they will never want their child to go through this awful disease.
So, what symptoms or signs you should watch out for to avoid the onset of diabetes?
My first suggestion is to become completely aware and understand the risk associated with diabetes. Understand that only a proactive measure can help you safeguard yourself and your beloved child to avoid type 2 diabetes. Secondly, note that the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children develop very slowly making it almost impossible to detect the disease in the initial stages itself. However, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Heavy breathing
- Dryness in mouth
- Blurred vision
- Itchiness on skin
- Increased hunger or thirst, even after eating
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the hands or feet
- Frequent urination
- Slow healing of sores, cuts or bruises
As I’ve mentioned earlier, my first suggestion to parents is to be aware of the basic know how of diabetes among children. Your knowledge can help to start early and take proactive steps in helping your child to avoid the diabetes.
During my interactions with many of the diabetic patients I have come across a simple yet profound query. The patients have been concerned about their children’s health and they wish to know if their child will also become diabetic in future. The answer to this question is what I’ve tried to summarize in our portal: www.Grass-Diabetes.com
Singhal Diabetic Clinic - A trusted name in diabetic prevention which is serving for over two decades
Over two decades of our services to diabetic patients through Singhal Diabetic Clinic located at Haridwar, has made us thinking of the health status of current generation. Today’s lifestyle clubbed with your genetic composition i.e. your family’s history of diabetes, the threat of diabetes will be one of the major concerns. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure, your knowledge towards your own body and the lifestyle you chose determines your future. You are welcome to explore and know more about your risk of diabetes by getting your personalized report on the risk of diabetes because of your genes and lifestyle. If you have any queries, we will be pleased to assist you.
Dr. M Singhal
Phone: +91-1334-224625 | Mobile: +91-9837178358