According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), rates of new diagnosed cases of diabetes are increasing among children and teens in the United States, with Type 2 diabetes growing at a faster rate than Type 1.
Broward Health pediatric endocrinologists Lisa Kenigsberg, M.D., and Monica Martinez-Rubio, M.D., share with us some insight to help support pediatric diabetes patients in our community.
How does diabetes impact a patient's life?
Patients with Type 1 diabetes are born with the disease and it currently has no cure - affecting their day- to-day routines with constant glucose monitoring, insulin injections and dietary modifications.
"It can feel a bit isolating for these kids," said Kenigsberg. "They feel like they are the only ones with the disease. They also have different routines, including daily visits to the nurse's office at school and having to learn how to carefully select their food at the cafeteria."
Since Type 2 diabetes is preventable and reversible with proper diet and exercise, it can also require a complete overhaul in the patient's daily habits to provide healthier food and at least an hour of physical activity.
"Not only the patients themselves are impacted, but their families as well," said Martinez-Rubio. "It's not fair for the kid with Type 2 diabetes to make the changes alone. There is better outcomes when the entire family makes the changes together."
How can I help?
Kenigsberg and Martinez-Rubio agree that "it takes a village to manage diabetes." Patients and parents are usually well educated on the condition, but encouragement and support from everyone in their social circle can make a world of difference.
"Understanding pediatric diabetes and being mindful of what they go through," Kenigsberg said, "is the best way to help."