Type 2 Diabetes| Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may develop slowly and go unnoticed for a long time. Because of this, it is important to know what the risk factors are. If your child is at risk for type 2 diabetes, they should be tested periodically, whether or not they show signs or symptoms.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • being overweight or obese
  • having a parent, sibling or other close family member with type 2 diabetes
  • lack of regular exercise
  • abnormal cholesterol or high blood pressure

In addition, type 2 diabetes affects some ethnic groups more than others. Children and adolescents who are African-American, Hispanic, and Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander are at increased risk for the condition.

If your child has symptoms, they may include:

  • constant thirst or hunger
  • frequent need to urinate
  • lost weight without any change in diet
  • blurry vision
  • exhaustion
  • numb or tingling hands or feet
  • sores that heal slowly
  • frequent infections

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or use the insulin that the pancreas produces. Insulin is needed in order for glucose (a form of sugar) to enter the cells of the body. When glucose can’t get into the cells, it starts to build up in the blood instead. Not only are cells not getting the essential source of energy they need, but the high levels of sugar in the blood are damaging to the body.

Genetics play a role in type 2 diabetes. If a child’s parent has type 2 diabetes, they are at risk of developing the condition as well.

Food and exercise also play a role. Eating a diet high in fat and processed sugar increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, as does being overweight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole-grain foods can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Your dietician can work with you to develop a healthy food plan.