After seeing an increase in kids getting Type II diabetes, experts share warning signs to look out for

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Children’s of Alabama is seeing an increase in kids developing Type II diabetes and they’re seeing it mainly in young boys.

Experts said it started when kids exercised less during the pandemic and shared warnings signs to look out for.

Local researchers at UAB have been tracking the Type II diabetes numbers in kids, and before the pandemic, they saw about 11 new youth diabetes cases a month. Now, it’s up to 19 on a monthly average.

Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at UAB and Children’s Dr. Jessica Schmidt said kids who are overweight, have family history, or minorities are the most at risk to develop Type II diabetes. Right now, they are seeing it mainly in kids ages 13 to 14, but she said there are cases in younger children too.

There are warning signs you can look out for, like the darkening of the skin on the back of their neck, or under their armpits. Dr. Schmidt said increased urination or increased thirst is also a sign.

Schmidt said kids can also get diagnosed with pre-diabetes and there are some things you can do to try and prevent it.

“Have at least an hour of vigorous activity everyday,” Schmidt said. “Consume zero sugar beverages. That last piece of advice is what I talk about the most in clinic. If families are only going to do one thing to decrease their risk of developing diabetes, I encourage everyone to just drink water or white milk.”

Schmidt said it is rare for kids to die from Type II diabetes, but if it’s ignored, they can become hospitalized. She said the longer it progresses, the more it becomes permanent for a child.

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