Important issues for your child with type 2 diabetes

Not long ago, a child diagnosed with diabetes was assumed to have type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was rare in children. But over the past 10 years, the number of new cases has skyrocketed. Experts believe childhood obesity is primarily responsible for the increase. In most cases, healthy eating and exercise will become the focus of your child's treatment.

It often helps if the entire family makes a commitment to healthy eating and being active. By working with a registered dietitian, especially one who is a certified diabetes educator, you can develop meal plans that will help your child control his or her diabetes. Healthy eating habits and exercise are important for the whole family because type 2 diabetes runs in families. If you have additional children, they too are at risk. Adopting a healthy lifestyle for your whole family may lower the risk of your other children developing diabetes.

Having type 2 diabetes will affect your child at school. You should meet with your child's teacher to discuss possible low blood sugar episodes. Review the school's lunch program, and stress the need for your child to eat healthy meals. You should also speak to your child's gym teacher not only about possible low blood sugar episodes and their symptoms, but also about ways to get your child more involved in physical activities. Sports and exercise will make weight control much easier for your child.

Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 in that your child's life is generally not in immediate danger without treatment. But if the disease is not treated, your child's long-term health will suffer and he or she will be more likely to develop serious complications. Treatment also will help your child feel better in the short term. Achieving healthy blood sugar levels will help your child have more energy, which can lead to increased exercise and weight control.

Last Updated: July 28, 2008

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