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Preventing and Managing Diabetes in Youth

Why are rates of type 2 diabetes increasing among youth and teens in the United States?  According to the CDC, until recently, young children and teens almost never developed type 2 diabetes. That’s why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Now, about one in three American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance (insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that acts as a key to let blood sugar into cells to use as energy). At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it, but over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels.

The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown. But family history and genetics appear to play an important role. Inactivity and excess fat, especially abdominal fat, also seem to be important factors. About 40% of children with type 2 diabetes have no signs or symptoms. However, some related conditions include:

  • Acanthosis nigricans – thick, dark patches of skin on the back of the neck or armpits
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections

There are ways to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes with healthy habits, such as:

  • Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Make favorite foods healthier
  • Eat more fiber
  • Control carb intake
  • Eat the right amounts (portion control)
  • Get 60 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress levels

Healthy changes become habits more easily when everyone in the family make them together. Click here to find out more about preventing type 2 diabetes in children.

Click here to shop MacGill’s selection of diabetes products and contact us if you have any questions

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