KENILWORTH, N.J., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, nearly one in five adolescents are living with prediabetes. Prediabetes is a critical warning sign in children at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are abnormally high because the body does not produce enough insulin or fails to respond normally to the insulin it does produce.
In a new editorial on MerckManuals.com, Andrew Calabria, MD, details the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as provides parents with important information about prediabetes. Dr. Calabria is Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania and a pediatric endocrinologist and Clinical Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
In the editorial, Dr. Calabria offers five key takeaways for parents in preventing and potentially reversing prediabetes.
1. Prediabetes is Reversible
Prediabetes can be prevented and reversed. However, the lifestyle changes ? including weight loss ? are often challenging for kids, especially over the long term.
2. There are Warning Signs for Prediabetes
There are several things parents should be on the lookout for when it comes to detecting prediabetes. Obesity in children is one of the biggest red flags. Also, children of Latino, African American, Native American, and Asian American descent are at increased risk. Additionally, some children may have darker patches of skin around the neck, armpit or groin, a condition known as acanthosis nigricans, that is associated with insulin resistance. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, for girls, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
3. Family History Plays a Significant Role
In addition to the above warning signs, family history can be a significant predictor. About half of children with prediabetes have a first-degree relative with diabetes, and that percentage climbs to 90 percent when you include grandparents.
4. Healthy Eating is Essential
Here are a few actionable steps parents can encourage to help reduce obesity and the risk of prediabetes in their children:
5. Routine Physical Activity is More Important than Ever
COVID-19 has disrupted our daily routines in so many ways. To prevent and reverse prediabetes, it's important to help kids establish healthy physical activity routines throughout the day.
You can read more about prediabetes in adolescents in Dr. Calabria's editorial on MerckManuals.com.
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SOURCE The Merck Manuals
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