Childhood diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is on the rise around the world for many reasons. India alone sees over a million cases of juvenile diabetes. Here is what you should know about the risk factors for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes:
- Family history plays a major role. If a parent or sibling is diabetic, the chances of becoming diabetic increase for a child.
- Presence of certain types of genes can also make a child susceptible to diabetes.
- Exposure to various viruses may trigger autoimmune destruction of islet cells, which are responsible for producing glucose and insulin.
- Childhood obesity is one of the major contributing factors for type 2 diabetes. Excess fat around the abdomen especially, puts the youth at more risk as compared to adults.
- Sedentary lifestyle or inactivity increases chances of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps your child control his/her weight and uses glucose as energy. This ensures that cells stay responsive to insulin.
- Age & gender also make a difference when it comes to diabetes. Children tend to develop diabetes around the same time that they hit puberty. Adolescent girls are also more prone to diabetes
- Having a low weight at birth and being born to a mother who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are both known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
You should see a doctor when your child shows any of these risk factors. If left unattended, diabetes can lead to life-threatening consequences.