November is National Diabetes Month to raise awareness of this deadly but manageable disease. Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes—29.1 million people, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diabetes is afflicting more children than ever before. “I’m seeing a rise in the number of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which has been traditionally an adult-onset disease,” says Dr. Paola Portela, a pediatrician with the Woodridge Clinic.
In a non-diabetic, the pancreas makes enough of the hormone insulin to help convert consumed food (sugar) into fuel for the whole body. Historically, children would contract Type 1 (not Type 2) diabetes, which happens when their bodies stop producing insulin. Type 1s need to take insulin daily to compensate.
In contrast, Type 2 diabetics are often overweight adults who no longer produce enough insulin, or can’t use what’s produced effectively, due to an overworked pancreas.
For both types, it’s critical to keep sugar circulating in the blood at normal levels, to reduce future complications, including heart and kidney disease, and other medical problems.
“Many obese children are developing Type 2 diabetes through poor eating habits. We advise their parents, who are often overweight themselves, to not stock their homes with non-nutritious food choices of high-sugar, high-carbohydrate junk food, like potato chip and soda,” Dr. Portela says. “We tell families not to drink their calories through sugary, nutrient-poor beverages.”
In addition to eating controlled portions of healthy food and exercising daily, the National Institute of Health advises that “losing a modest amount of weight – about 15 pounds – can actually cut your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% in people at high risk.”
For more information, call the Woodridge Clinic, call 630-910-1177, click www.woodridgeclinic.com or visit at 7530 Woodward Ave., Woodridge, IL 60517