Lt Col Reynolds
Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult-onset diabetes, but more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It is becoming increasingly common in kids and teens who are overweight or obese. It’s not clear what causes type 2 diabetes, but genetics and weight seem to be the biggest risk factors.
Lt Col Phillips
Many kids who have type 2 diabetes have a family history of the disease. In fact, there are some cases where a parent may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the same time as the child. But the other common threads are being overweight or obese. Dr. Patel, can you tell us more about type 2 diabetes?
Certainly, Dr. Phillips. Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, which is the main type of sugar in the blood. Our bodies break down the foods we eat into glucose and other nutrients needed to make our bodies function properly. Glucose gets absorbed into the bloodstream, which triggers the pancreas to make a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps glucose go from the bloodstream into cells throughout the body to provide energy.
In people with type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t respond normally to insulin, so glucose remains in the bloodstream and raises the blood sugar level. When the blood sugar level rises, the pancreas is triggered to make even more insulin. Eventually, the pancreas wears out and can no longer produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. The reason type 2 diabetes is often linked with obesity is because excess fat and inactivity make it difficult for cells to respond to insulin the way they’re supposed to.