• More than just a Sugar Rush: What You Need to Know About Child Diabetes

    What happens when your child is diagnosed with diabetes?
    by Lili Narvaez .
  • sugar cubesA slice of cake, a block of chocolate, a bowl of ice cream  these are just some of the most  satisfying of meal enders you and your family constantly crave. While there’s nothing wrong with having a sweet treat or two, you have to exercise some control over your kidís sugary intake. A little too much can spell a big difference; and can pose a serious health problem for your child.


    Diabetic details
    Diabetes mellitus is a condition that occurs when there is a problem with insulin production or resistance, affecting the body’s energy metabolism. “Insulin is important for the absorption of the food that we eat,” explains Rosa Allyn Sy, M.D., endocrinologist at The Medical City in Pasig. The energy that food provides is distributed to the cells, ensuring proper nourishment.

    There are two kinds of diabetes mellitus: Type 1 or insulin dependent diabetes, and Type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children; these kids are genetically predisposed to such condition, explains Susana Campos, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City.

    But Type 2, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is sadly beginning to afß ict children, with obesity as the  leading culprit.

    In 2003, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) reported a 300 percent increase in the number of obesity cases in children from ages 0 to 5, since 1998. Dr. Campos attributes this to a ìhigh-calorie, high-fat, and high-carbohydrate diet, with upsized fast food meals, eat-all-you-can buffets, and unwatched liquid calories; all of which promote energy surplus.”

    Dr. Sy adds, “When weight gain leads to obesity, a lot of strong insulin resistance develops; you may produce enough insulin, but it will not be effective enough to bring down or absorb all the energy that is taken in.” Unhealthy eating habits, coupled with lack of exercise, may put you at risk of diabetes.


    Down with diabetes
    Having diabetes requires a lot of lifestyle adjustments, and a child may have difficulty coping with his condition, says Dr. Sy. He might feel that he is different from other children. “They become shy and they tend to withdraw from the environment because they feel they cannot compete with other children,” she adds.

    Your role is crucial in his physical and emotional growth. “Parents sometimes blame themselves for having a child who’s diabetic. But they must understand what diabetes is to help their child cope. This is not curable, but it can be controlled and you can avoid the complications,” Dr. Sy says. “We want the child to know he is not really different from the rest, and he can be comfortable to do what he wants, and develop his potential.”

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