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Type 2 Diabetes in Children (part2)

Why Is Type 2 Diabetes in Children a Serious Problem?

With type 2 diabetes in children, symptoms may be minor at first. However, serious health problems may be developing. These are complications associated with type 2 diabetes in children or adults:

• Blindness

• Kidney failure

• Heart disease

• Blood circulation and nerve damage

• Early death from complications

How Is Type 2 Diabetes in Children Treated?

The first step in treating type 2 diabetes is for your child to visit a doctor. The doctor can determine if your child is overweight based on your child's age, weight, and height. The doctor can also request tests of your child's blood glucose to see if your child has diabetes or prediabetes.

If your child has diabetes, you and your child will work with the doctor and other health professionals to create a plan to manage diabetes. These health professionals may include a diabetes educator, a dietitian, and a diabetes nurse.

The goal is to reduce your child's blood glucose to normal levels. The primary strategy will be to help your child reach a normal weight. Your child's plan may include these steps:

• Learning to make wise food choices, especially reducing the amount of fats and sweets

• Increasing physical activity to at least 30 minutes every day

• Taking medication

How Is Type 2 Diabetes in Children Prevented?

The same steps used to treat type 2 diabetes in

children can also prevent it. Reduce fats and sweets in your child's diet. Make sure your child gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

In fact, studies show that exercise has a dramatic effect on reducing insulin resistance. These two strategies can help your child achieve or maintain a normal weight and normal blood glucose levels.

Dealing With Special Concerns of Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Children -- especially teens -- may have a tough time making changes to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. You can help by following some of these suggestions:

• Talk with your child honestly but supportively about health and weight. Encourage your child to speak up about his or her concerns.

• Do not separate out your child for special treatment. Your entire family can benefit from making changes in diet and activity.

• Make changes gradually. Just as it took time for diabetes to develop, it will take time to achieve better health.

• Increase activities your child enjoys, while at the same time reducing the amount of time your family spends watching TV or playing video games.

• If your child refuses to follow his or her plan, try to find out why. Teens, for example, are dealing with hormone changes, demands on their time, peer pressure, and other factors that seem more important to them than taking care of diabetes.

• Set small, step-wise goals. Plan special rewards for your child when he or she meets each goal. Then move on to the next.

• Talk to a diabetes educator, doctor, dietitian, or other diabetes professional for more ideas on how to help your child become healthier.

By working together, you, your child and the diabetes health care team can be sure your child remains healthy for years to come.

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