Prevent Diabetes at an Early Age

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthAmerican Diabetes Month is celebrated every year in November with the goal of generating awareness about the disease. This year, let’s take steps towards diabetes prevention for children.

Hispanics and Diabetes
Due to genetics and poor nutrition, Hispanics are twice more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic, Whites. Consequently, this disease has become the sixth leading cause of deaths among Latinos in the United States.

In recent years, the rate of diabetes among young Hispanics has also increased due to the rise in childhood obesity. One out of 400 young Hispanics suffers from type-1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes, in which the body does not produce insulin. The frequency of young Latinos diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, which initially creates high insulin resistance in the body that causes the pancreas to collapse due to the additional efforts it makes to produce insulin, is also increasing.

“If we teach our children to maintain healthy habits, we can help them to prevent type-2 diabetes,” said Dr. Tomás Díaz, UnitedHealth Group Medical Director. “Maintaining a balanced diet and exercising daily are some of the most simple and effective measures for preventing this disease. If you have a family history of diabetes or suspect that you are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes, it is recommended to visit your healthcare provider and get checked.” Since type-2 diabetes develops gradually, many children have no signs or symptoms. However, those who do show symptoms may experience the following:

  • Increased thirst and urination, caused by sugar building up in the bloodstream and fluid being pulled from the tissues. As a consequence, the child is thirstier and drinks more liquids.
  • Increased hunger, as there is not enough sugar moving into the cells, the child’s muscles and organs become depleted of energy.
  • Fatigue, another consequence of the lack of sugar needed to produce energy.
  • Blurred vision, due to high levels of sugar in the blood, causing fluid to be pulled from the eyes’ lenses.
  • Weight loss due to a lack of energy, despite the increase in hunger, the child’s muscles and tissues shrink.
  • Areas of darkened skin, especially in the armpits or neck, are signs of insulin resistance.
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections.

Web pages such as offer information about how to prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases.

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