Type II Diabetes

What is Type II Diabetes?

Type II diabetes is one of two major types of diabetes along with type I diabetes that results in above normal blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes (previously referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes) is a form of diabetes in which the body produces insulin but is unable to respond normally to its production.

More specifically, with type II diabetes, glucose is able to enter the cells and supply them with energy, leading to a rise in blood sugar levels. In turn, the pancreas produces more insulin, a process which can wear out the pancreas and eventually lead to its inability to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels healthy.

Type II Diabetes in Children

The majority of children with type 2 diabetes have the condition due to genetic reasons. In fact, it is believed that 45 to 80% of children with this form of diabetes have at least one parent with the disease or have a history of diabetes in their family.

In addition, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop diabetes, because fat makes it more difficult for the cells to respond to insulin. Children are more likely to develop type II diabetes when undergoing puberty, as normal increases in hormone levels during this stage of childhood development can lead to insulin resistance.

Individuals of certain ethic groups are also more likely to develop this type of diabetes; in particular, children of Native American, African American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian/Pacific Island are at a greater risk for developing type II diabetes.

Type II Diabetes Symptoms

Children with type II diabetes will experience the following symptoms:

  • frequent urination. This occurs because the kidney flushes out excessive glucose in the urine in order to counteract abnormally high glucose levels.
  • frequent thirst. The above process causes a need to regulate water levels in the body by taking in a lot of fluids.
  • fatigue. Type II diabetes in a child results in tiredness because the body cannot properly use glucose, resulting in decreased energy levels.

In addition, children with type II diabetes will often have high cholesterol levels as well as hypertension (high blood pressure). Girls with type II diabetes are more likely to develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which the ovaries become enlarged and develop cysts.

Also, a child with type II diabetes often develops a skin condition known as acathosis nigricans, which results in the development of dark, thick skin patches that are velvet like in texture. These skin patches can develop around the neck, armpits, and groin, as well as on elbows and knees, and between the fingers and toes.

Type II Diabetes Treatment

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is central to diabetes treatment in children. Following a healthy diet that is low in fat and salt is important, as is eating meals at regularly spaced intervals.

In addition, regular exercise can help to improve the body’s response to insulin as well as to help maintain a healthy body weight.

New devices are also being developed in order to help to treat type II diabetes in children. For example, an insulin pump can help to deliver insulin in a similar method as the pancreas. Such an insulin pump, along with insulin shots, may be required as part of your child’s diabetes treatment.