International Youth Day is an awareness day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. But apart from these issues there is another emerging concern ‘diabetes’.
Type 2 diabetes is significantly increasing in the pediatric and teenage population worldwide.
Though more common in adults, it is on the rise in this age bracket due to the largely associated.
Obese adolescents affected by type 2 diabetes are characterized by severe insulin resistance, which is associated with an increased lipid accumulation in their visceral compartments, liver and muscle tissues and reduced sensitivity of β-cell of first and second-phase insulin secretion.
The early onset of this type of diabetes seems to be associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality during the most productive years of the youth’s life.
- Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in the bloodstream pulls fluid from tissues. As a result you might be thirsty — and drink and urinate more than usual.
- Weight loss. Without the energy that sugar supplies, muscle tissues and fat stores simply shrink. However, weight loss is less common in children and teens with type 2 diabetes when compared to those having type 1 diabetes.
- Fatigue. Lack of sugar in the cells might make the child lethargic.
- Blurred vision. If blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of the eyes leading to blurry vision.
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Type 2 diabetes affects the ability to heal and resist infections.
Apart from being obese or having excessive fat stores in the body, in some it could also be genetic.
What is common is that type 2 diabetes develops when the person’s body becomes resistant to insulin or when their pancreas stops making enough insulin. The resulting buildup of sugar in the bloodstream can even cause life threatening complications.
Some common causes include:
- Being overweight: the more fatty tissue the more resistant the bodies’ cells become to insulin. The association between obesity and type 2 diabetes is even stronger in youth compared to adults.
- Inactivity. The less active the greater his or her risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps you control weight and use glucose as energy.
- Family history. The risk increases when a parent or sibling has the history of this disease.
- Birth weight and gestational diabetes. Low birth weight and being born to a mother who has had gestational diabetes during the pregnancy leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Lifestyle intervention is usually the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes in adults.
It focuses on the diet and physical activity along with basic health education.
Make sure to focus on 2 aspects
- Eat healthy foods. Opt for foods low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Get more physical activity. Encourage children to become active. Sign up for a sports team or dance lessons or have a daily workout routine.
Make this a family routine. Lifestyle choices that can help prevent type 2 diabetes in children can do the same for adults.
Apart from all this regularly check your blood glucose levels from time to time using a glucometer. This way you would know what your food and lifestyle has to offer to your health.