November 30, 2000
Social Issues: Community Resources, Type 2
Question from Eagle Pass, Texas, USA:
I'm concerned about my son and my community because my son has been recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Apparently this was rare before, but not now. My community is booming with children with type 2, and they are so overweight (obese really). Not only that, these kids range from very young to teenagers. A lot of doctors here don't know how to treat children with type 2. Thankfully, I saw one good one who recommended that my son see an endocrinologist. When are we going to have more information about type 2 diabetes in children? I need it and my community needs it too. If you don't believe me about all these children, come visit me. Your mouth will drop open about the staggering amount here, and that have not been diagnosed. These children are walking bombs to being seriously getting sick. My son was sick and hospitalized several times until I ordered for tests to be done after I took the diabetes classes since my husband was diagnosed with type 2. This is why I could help my son.
You would probably admit to some hyperbole in your report on type 2 diabetes, nevertheless a steady increase in this condition has been widely reported in recent years in the lay press as well as in scientific journals. It seems to be linked to a lifestyle where physical exercise is diminished and the dependence on high fat high calorie foods is increased. All population groups have been affected, but particularly Mexican Americans.There is a strong link to obesity in both affected children and in their families, and there is often a family history of diabetes too. If you have access to a medical library, one of the earlier reports on this theme was by KI Jones in Clinical Diabetes, Vol 37, page 103, 1998. Initial treatment involves diet and exercise and also the intensely hard task of losing weight permanently. there is a lot of research going on in this field and some new drugs like sibutramine are showing promise in children, although they are never likely to be successful without contemporary lifestyle changes. Oral hypoglycemic agents like Glucophage [metformin] may also have a role in regulating blood sugar. Insulin should not be necessary, at least to begin with.
[Editor’s comment: See also What You Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children.