Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with adults and is usually called adult onset diabetes However now there is a rise in the Type 2 diabetes in children and more and more children are seen to be afflicted with this condition.
The children with type 2 diabetes are usually asthmatic and may present with no symptoms. However sometimes they may present with excessive thirst and urination, lethargy, weight gain and weight loss .Sometimes some children may present with non-healing wounds. Most of the children who develop type 2 diabetes are obese.
Family history and ethnicity play a part but the most important are lifestyle causes. Inactivity and excessive weight especially abdominal obesity are important. Type 2 diabetics metabolize sugar sluggishly and are resistant to the hormone insulin which is responsible for converting sugar to energy. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and it pushes glucose into the cells and helps convert the sugar to energy. Hence it also helps to lower the level of glucose in the cells. In children who have insulin resistance the levels of glucose is high in the blood.
Being overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. The more adipose tissue that a child has and the lesser the muscle mass the higher is the risk of developing diabetes .This high adipose tissue leads to insulin resistance, pre diabetes and later on to frank diabetes.
This is further increased by inactivity. Family history and race are other contributing factors. The probability of a child having diabetes increases if the siblings or parents have diabetes.
Children develop Type 2 diabetes closer to the puberty and the girls are more likely to develop this condition.
The complications of Type 2 diabetes are similar to the complications faced by the adults .There may be complications in the Kidney leading to renal failure, retinal damage, damage to blood vessels and nerves. The possibility of complications is much more since the disease has developed earlier in life and the duration of the disease will be much longer .Some of the complications may also include Heart and blood vessel disease, Stroke, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Kidney disease, Blindness and gangrene of the foot.
Diabetes in children is easily preventable by making the right lifestyle choices. Eating healthy food with more fiber, protein and vegetables along with good physical activity will go a long way to prevent this disease.
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