In the following note, Dr. Carlos Antillón Ferreira, an endocrinologist at the ABC Medical Center, tells us about the problem that diabetes represents in childhood.
- Although type 1 diabetes is the most common in children, type 2 diabetes is a condition that is appearing more frequently in children.
- Detecting the warning signs is of great help to reduce its future impact on Mexican children.
- There is no precise prognosis to detect type 1 diabetes, however, we can make a big difference from prevention.
A statistic that is on the rise among children in Mexico is the development of type 1 diabetes and the recent rise of type 2, as a result of nutritional imbalance, sometimes inherent to overweight and obesity.
But what is the difference between both types of diabetes? In type 1 diabetes, the person stops producing insulin due to the formation of certain antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells, and in type 2 diabetes, associated with obesity, genetic inheritance, and other factors, the person has insulin resistance. That is, both types manifest clinically in the same way, but their origin is different. The important thing is that type 1 diabetes is not preventable and we cannot do anything to avoid it, instead type 2 diabetes can be prevented, if we improve overweight or obesity problems, have a better lifestyle and eating habits, exercise, and have physical activity.
In our country, there are 542,000 girls and boys who live with type 1 diabetes and almost 78,000 children develop it each year. In 2016 the incidence of type 2 diabetes was 2.05 cases per 100 thousand people, in 2020 the figure rose to 2.9 cases.
As a parent or caregiver, how can you become aware of the presence of this condition in your children? You must know the symptoms, which will be the same in type 1 as in type 2:
- They are very thirsty.
- They urinate frequently; small children lose sphincter control at night.
- They are extremely hungry.
- They lose weight unintentionally.
- Fatigue and irritability.
It is important to mention that, once the medical specialist has diagnosed a child with type 1 diabetes, this condition will not go away over time, that is, there is no cure, however, there are many ways to have good control to avoid any complications and lead a normal life, since the only thing that this condition does not allow people to do is produce insulin, but it can be adequately replaced.
In addition, it is important to consider that good diabetes management involves teamwork between the patient, family, friends, and the entire team of health professionals.
How to protect my children from type 2 diabetes?
- Choose low-fat foods. Whole grain cereal and bread, fruit, vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, lean meat, and other sources of protein with high nutritional value.
- Limit fast food and soft drinks. Excess fats and sugars lead to overweight, which often facilitates the presence of type 2 diabetes.
- Keep them moving! If you have pets, invite your little one to go for a walk together, run around the yard, jump rope, or play ball.
Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to have respiratory problems such as asthma and sleep apnea. In addition, it is common to observe that childhood obesity causes depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and many suffer from bullying.
“The important thing is not to stop eating what we like, nor to follow strict diets, it is to learn to be healthy, improve our lifestyle, and have medical follow-up”, concludes Dr. Carlos Antillón, an endocrinologist at the ABC Medical Center.
For any questions or queries about these types of issues, we suggest you visit our Pediatrics Center where our specialists will be ready to guide you and offer the best alternatives for you and your children.
At ABC Medical Center’s Diabetes Clinic, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!