Diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in North Carolina. In fact, the rate of diabetes has almost doubled in the state over the last 20 years! For example, Type 2 diabetes used to be known as an adult-onset disease, but today more children are being diagnosed with the disorder.
We are looking at this because November is National Diabetes Month — and this year’s focus is on providing extra attention to children with diabetes. No matter how old they are, children sometimes need additional help to develop a plan for their care. Especially if they are children with disabilities or chronic health problems.
Unchecked, complications from diabetes can also lead to serious health issues for children, including glaucoma & vision loss, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, amputation, and more.
Now, there’s no cure currently for Type 2 diabetes mentioned earlier. It is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for the body.
But, losing weight, eating well and exercising can help children with diabetes manage the disease, in addition to medications or insulin therapy.
Here are some tips provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive & Kidney Diseases to consider for self-care plans. These are especially helpful for children with disabilities or chronic health problems.
- Manage blood glucose levels. Make sure children with diabetes takes their medicines as prescribed, at the right time, and at the right dose. Do so even when they feel good or have reached their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol goals.
- Encourage healthy habits. Follow a healthy eating plan (especially if children are taking insulin), get enough sleep, and aim for regular physical activity. Children with Type 1 diabetes should also check their blood glucose levels before, during, or after physical activity.
- Stay prepared for emergencies. A basic “go-kit” could include medical supplies and equipment (at least a week’s worth); emergency and health care professional contact lists; and a medication list, including doses and dosing schedules, and an allergy list.
- Monitor for diabetes complications. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk of heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and other related health problems.
- Seek mental health support. Encourage children with diabetes to connect with other youth who have the disease. Youth may not be used to talking about feeling anxious or alone about their diabetes. Speak with your medical care team for help.
Recent Diabetes Developments in North Carolina
More than 3.7 million people in North Carolina have either prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
Virta Health, the leader in Type 2 diabetes reversal, has recently established a partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina. The goal is to employ an innovative “virtual care model.” This will help patients reach normal blood sugar levels while eliminating the need for diabetes-specific medications.
Patients receive near-real-time access to board-certified physicians and health coaches who provide expert, individualized guidance on nutrition and behavioral change through the Virta app.
“This is a massive opportunity to change the direction of health of an entire state, save lives, and significantly reduce healthcare spend along the way,” stated Sami Inkinen, Virta Health co-founder and CEO recently. “Our collaboration with Blue Cross NC provides strong optimism that we can solve the Type 2 diabetes crisis our nation is facing.”
Symptoms of Diabetes
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Unintended weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
- If your children with disabilities or chronic health problems — or you — have any of these symptoms, contact your physician.
This post was written by Anthony M Scialis. Find him here.