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Type 2 Diabetes in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects how your child's body uses glucose (sugar). Normally, when the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas makes more insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes develops because either the body cannot make enough insulin, or it cannot use the insulin correctly. Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be controlled.
Contact your child's care team if:
- Your child has a low blood sugar level and it does not improve with treatment.
- Your child's blood sugar level is above 240 mg/dL and does not come down after a dose of insulin.
- Your child has ketones in his or her blood or urine.
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has nausea or is vomiting and cannot keep any food or liquid down.
- Your child has symptoms of a low blood sugar level, such as trouble thinking, sweating, or a pounding heartbeat.
- Your child has blurred or double vision.
- Your child's breath has a fruity, sweet smell, or his or her breathing is deep and labored.
- Your child's heartbeat is fast and weak.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child's blood sugar levels are higher than his or her target goals.
- Your child often has blood sugar levels that are too low.
- Your child has abdominal pain, diarrhea, or is vomiting.
- Your child has numbness in his or her arms or legs.
- Your child has warm, red patches of skin or a wound that does not heal.
- Your child is anxious or depressed.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
- Medicines , such as insulin or oral medicines, may be given to decrease your child's blood sugar levels.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Diabetes education will start right away. Members of your child's team will teach you and your child the following:
- How to check your child's blood sugar level: You and your child will learn what his or her blood sugar level should be. You will be given information on when to check your child's blood sugar level. You will learn what to do if his or her level is too high or too low. Write down the times of your checks and your child's levels. Take them to all follow-up appointments.
- About insulin: You, your child, and your family members will be taught how to draw up and give insulin. You will learn how much insulin your child needs and what time to inject insulin. You will be taught when not to give insulin. You will also be taught how to dispose of needles and syringes.
- About nutrition: A dietitian will help you make a meal plan to keep your child's blood sugar level steady. You will learn how food affects your child's blood sugar levels. You will also learn to keep track of sugar and starchy foods (carbohydrates). Do not let your child skip meals. Blood sugar levels may drop too low if your child has received insulin and does not eat.
- Exercise and diabetes: You and your child will learn why exercise is important. A plan will be made for your child's exercise. Your child's healthcare provider will tell you what a healthy weight for your child would be. He or she will help you and your child make a plan to get to that weight and stay there. Encourage your child to be active for at least 60 minutes on most days of the week. Help your child include activities 3 days each week that strengthen his or her muscles and bones.
Your child's nutrition:
A dietitian will help you and your child create a meal plan. The plan will help keep your child's blood sugar level steady. Help your child make the best decisions when choosing foods. The following are tips to help you to start helping with your child's nutrition:
- Keep track of carbohydrates (sugar and starchy foods). Your child's blood sugar level can get too high if he or she eats too many carbohydrates. His or her dietitian will help you plan meals and snacks that have the right amount of carbohydrates.
- Give your child low-fat and low-sodium foods. Examples of low-fat foods are lean meat, fish, skinless chicken or turkey, and low-fat milk. Limit high-sodium foods, such as potato chips and soup. Do not add salt to food you cook. Limit your child's use of table salt.
- Give your child high-fiber foods. Foods that are a good source of fiber include vegetables, whole-grain bread, and beans.
Medical alert identification:
Make sure your child always wears medical alert jewelry or carries a card that says he or she has diabetes. Ask your child's healthcare provider where to get these items.
Give directions to your child's school and care providers:
Make sure your child's teachers and care providers know he or she has diabetes. Provide written instructions about what to do if your child has symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels at school.
Do not smoke around your child:
Do not let others smoke around him or her. Do not let your older child smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung and heart damage. Cigarette smoke can worsen the problems that occur with diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you or child currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you or your child use these products.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Your child will need to return to have his or her A1c checked. The care team will make sure that treatment is working. Your child's treatment may need to be adjusted. Write down questions that you and your child have so you remember to ask them during his or her visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.