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Q&A: What Parents Of Children With Type 2 Diabetes Need To Know

Fear Not! Here Is A Little Fact Sheet For Parents Of Children With Type 2 Diabetes

If you are the parent or parents of children with type 2 diabetes, then this article is just what you need to help you understand the right approach in helping your child heal. Big hint: typically, the entire family needs to come together and change together.

What Is Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease with the primary symptom of high blood sugar. It is brought on by a child with a genetic predisposition of the disease gaining excessive weight through overeating the wrong foods and not doing enough physical activity. parents of children with type 2 diabetes must understand this is the exact same pattern for adults who get type 2 diabetes, but the disease is much more of a concern in kids who get it because its onset was faster (diabetes can take years to develop in adults, longer than the kids who have it might have been alive), indicating the amount of weight gain, degree of inactivity, and strength of the genetic predisposition are all excessive.

What Are The Signs?
A child with type 2 diabetes is typically very overweight with a pot belly. From here, they may experience thirst, fatigue, excessive hunger, blurry vision, and tingly fingers. Other times, there may be no symptoms at all. A routine visit to the doctor for an unrelated illness like the flu may result in blood work and then a surprise diagnoses.

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As my kid demonstrates, physical activity can put a smile on your face.

What Does It Mean For The Child?
A type 2 diabetic child is just a kid who needs help eating better, finding physical activities they enjoy, and losing weight. If this can be done, diabetes will pose no harm, can be reversed, and can be avoided in adulthood. However, if the weight is not lost, the child is in dire jeopardy of experiencing nerve damage, heart problems, amputations, blindness, kidney problems, and stroke. The good news is this is all avoidable.

What Does It Mean For The Family?
Parents of children with type 2 diabetes must help the entire family eat better and move more. Type 2 diabetes is a family disease, not just genetically, but behaviorally. It’s very rare that only one child is overweight and inactive. By having the entire family change their lifestyle, the afflicted child does not feel singled out, and equally important, has a support system of their parents and siblings as role models of change. Even better, since type 2 diabetes runs in families, the other immediate family members will reduce their risk of getting the same disease? In short, a child diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is a wakeup call for the entire family.

 

 

How Will It Affect The Child’s Future?
Kids with type diabetes are overweight and inactive, so the best message to give the parents of children with type 2 diabetes is that they will play and work much better by losing the weight. I personally fell into this category growing up as a heavy, sedentary child. The impact on the kid’s spirit is the same as for any overweight child. They endure teasing, low self esteem, and have the stigma of having a disease. The good news is that lifestyle changes can turn these negatives into positives. Further, teaching a child to follow a lifestyle that does not lead to type 2 diabetes creates an adult without the disease.

What’s The Latest In Medicine That Keeps This Disease In Check?
Parents of children with type 2 diabetes need to understand there is no medicine that can keep type 2 diabetes “in check” all on its own. The most loving solution is to ensure our kids eat better, become more active, and help them lose weight. On top of that, there are currently only two medications approved for children in the US: Metformin and insulin. Metformin is a generally safe, well tolerated oral medication that can help kids control blood sugar better. Insulin is used generally if the combination of Metformin with diet and lifestyle changes does not control diabetes enough. Regardless, the best message for parents of children with type 2 diabetes is that kids who lose their weight, get more active, and change their eating can reverse type 2 diabetes and have no further need of medication.

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