April 9, 2008
Diagnosis and Symptoms, Type 2 in Youth
Question from Brownsville, Texas, USA:
My seven-year-old daughter is a little overweight. We recently noticed dark patches on her neck and underarms. She is not an overeater and usually is disciplined about what she eats if asked to like, when she is sick, which is rare. She is pretty healthy. The only thing is that when she is hungry she is very moody. The other day I checked her blood sugar and it was about 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L] after an hour of her lunch.
I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with her and my other two sons and was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I don’t have very good control of my own diet, but I think I will definitely change my ways in order to help her. She dances three times a week and also participates in physical education at school. My questions are: could diet be enough to control her condition (if she is diagnosed)? Is there another method of checking blood sugars other than sticking the finger because she is afraid of that? Our insurance is about to run out because my husband lost his job. But, I want to take her to the doctor before to see if we can get a diagnosis soon. Any information will be appreciated.
I think you are describing Acanthosis Nigricans. You can compare your daughter’s patches with those pictured on that page. This is associated with insulin resistance. The literature is clear that children are at greater risk for diabetes.
What to do: Healthy is the game for all of you…diet, activity, etc. Change your habits and introduce them to the rest of your family. We know we can prevent/forestall type 2 diabetes with exercise (150 minutes per week) and some weight loss. Work at it and get everyone involved.
[Editor’s comment: To answer your question about checking blood sugar levels, right now there are two tools available. The first is finger stick blood glucose monitors and the second is continuous glucose sensors. I understand the anxiety surrounding finger stick glucose monitoring, but there are ways to reduce the discomfort, including using alternative site testing (forearm, heal of the palm) and using the Accu-Chek Softclix or Multi-Clix lancing devices or the new Pelikan Sun lancing system. These lancing devices make a difference for many people.