Pediatric Pre-Diabetes

Pediatric Pre-Diabetes

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Summary

Pre-diabetes happens when blood glucose levels become high enough to put your child at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Expanded overview

Pre-diabetes happens when your child’s blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for them to have Type 2 diabetes. Think of it as a warning sign before a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. If your child has pre-diabetes, it does not necessarily mean they will get Type 2 diabetes.

Most people think of children having Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called juvenile diabetes). However, children can also get Type 2 diabetes. Having pre-diabetes puts your child at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

If your child has pre-diabetes, it means their pancreas is not making enough insulin (hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood) or their body is becoming insulin resistant. This means the insulin isn’t breaking down glucose properly, so glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The best way to help return blood glucose levels to normal is through exercise and healthy eating.

Causes

Pre-diabetes may be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Having excess abdominal fat
  • Not getting enough physical activity

Risk factors

Risk factors that may increase your child’s risk for developing pre-diabetes include:

  • Birth weight over nine pounds
  • Eating high fat, processed foods
  • Having a parent or sibling with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Larger than average waist circumference
  • Mother with gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Obesity

Symptoms

Pre-diabetes has no symptoms. If your child has risk factors, their doctor can order a blood test to check blood glucose levels to determine if they have pre-diabetes. However, you can watch for signs that pre-diabetes is becoming Type 2 diabetes. The first symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:

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