Prediabetes and Children: What parents need to know

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Priyanka Naik DO
By Priyanka Naik, DO at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed)

November was American Diabetes Awareness Month. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand your family history, know your risk factors for certain diseases, and keep a healthy and active lifestyle. These are key elements to maintaining your family’s health – something that can be difficult for many this year.

Luckily, our knowledge of diabetes and prediabetes continues to increase, along with ways to minimize risk to ensure we stay healthy during this time of uncertainty. Understanding these factors is incredibly important, as one in five adolescents and one in four young adults currently live with prediabetes according to the CDC.

In an effort to raise awareness about prediabetes, Dr. Naik from PacMed’s Northgate location discusses prediabetes among children to help us better understand the topic and keep our loved ones healthy.

What is the difference between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes commonly occurs during childhood and is caused by the body’s self-destruction of islet cells in the pancreas, leading to a lack of insulin production by the body. Alternatively, Type 2 Diabetes is commonly caused by insulin resistance in the body, eventually leading to decreased insulin production in later stages of the disease.

What should parents know about diabetes and what are some key symptoms parents should be aware of?

Parents should know that diabetes can occur at any age. Common risk factors include:
  • Obesity
  • Family History
  • Sedentary Lifestyles
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Chronic Steroid Use
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hypertension
  • Elevated Cholesterol
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
  • Increased Thirst
  • Increased Urination
  • Increased Hunger
  • Changes in Vision
  • Unintentional Weight Loss
  • Frequent Infections
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Ketones in Urine
  • Non-Healing Sores
What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is characterized by higher than normal glucose levels. It is incredibly important to monitor individuals with prediabetes, as prediabetes can lead to diabetes.

How does prediabetes affect kids and adults – is there any difference?

If prediabetes is not controlled with lifestyle changes, it can start affecting other organs in the body, such as our eyes, kidneys, and skin. Prediabetes and diabetes both also increase our risk of cardiovascular events.

Are there any preventative measures that families should be aware of as it relates to diabetes?

I recommend my patients stay hydrated, eat a diet rich in fiber and whole grains, exercise regularly, avoid fad diets, and keep weight under control to avoid getting prediabetes and diabetes.

What health-tech advancements have been made for diabetes patients?

Currently, the FDA has approved multiple continuous self-glucose monitoring systems that do not involve the use of needles or strips. Instead, you can get your reading with the swipe of a device, which can be checked 24/7. This method allows you to control the “highs and lows” of diabetes, leading to optimal control of one’s glucose levels.

Additionally, advances in the artificial pancreas is continuously underway. An artificial pancreas not only monitors glucose levels, but also delivers an optimal dose of insulin to the patient.

Is there anything else related to diabetes that you’d like readers to be aware of?

Prevention and early detection are key! If you have any of the risk factors or symptoms listed above, please reach out to your primary care physician to discuss the optimal age for routine screening and lifestyle changes. Our health is so important, and it is possible to control prediabetes if the necessary steps are taken.


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