Can There Be Reversal Of Diabetes In Children? Find Out.

Nov 13, 2021, 17:03 IST


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Diabetes is a condition characterised by persistently high blood glucose levels over normal limits either because the body does not make enough or no insulin at all, as in Type 1 diabetes. In some cases, the body is unable to use the insulin properly, as in Type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 Diabetes has a strong genetic tendency rather than Type 1, which is autoimmune. Lifestyle plays a huge role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is more common, even in children nowadays, due to multiple factors, says Dr Sharda A, consultant endocrinologist, Manipal Hospital Millers Road, Bengaluru.

In recent years, the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is rising steeply in the paediatric population owing to increasing rates of obesity. Evidence suggests that 85 per cent of children with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity among Indian children is reported to be about 3.6 to 11.7 per cent, putting them at a high risk of diabetes and related complications such as multi-organ damage and increased risk of infections. Dr Sharda tells more about diabetes in children, its reversal, early symptoms and what lifestyle changes are required to manage it.

Dr Sharda A, consultant endocrinologist, Manipal Hospital Millers Road, BengaluruDr Sharda


Diabetes Reversal

At present, there is no cure for the condition and the only way to improve quality of life is to slow down its progression through optimal management. If your child suffers from Type 1 diabetes, then there are no chances of reversing it. This is because your child’s body has no way of producing insulin and would require medical support for life. If your child has Type 2 diabetes, there is a high possibility of reversing it in the early stages, where the condition has not yet caused any harm to other organs of the body. However, one of the greatest challenges is the early identification of such patients, as the disease progresses slowly without any major signs and symptoms.


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Early Identification Of Symptoms

Spotting early symptoms not only improves the chances of reversal at an early stage but also helps to avoid complications associated with diabetes. The symptoms of diabetes in children may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bed-wetting - this is sudden in children who did not wet their bed at night before
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Recurrent infections
  • Slow-healing ulcers and wounds
  • Numbness of hands and feet

Parents might also notice Acanthosis Nigricans - black velvety patches on the skin on the nape of the neck, axilla, knuckles etc. - a mark of insulin resistance. If you observe any of the above symptoms in your child, you need to consult your paediatrician immediately.


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Recommended Lifestyle Changes

Helping your child make the switch to a healthier lifestyle is the key to reversing diabetes. Promote a healthy atmosphere around your child and encourage them to eat healthily and maintain ideal body weight. Give them your love and the best chance at good health.

Help them stay active: Exercise helps improve blood sugar levels and maintains healthy body weight. If your child is active enough, the blood sugar levels are regulated and insulin is used more efficiently. Go for walks with your child or play ball at the park. Try some new games or fun activities that involve exercise and enjoy some quality time together. Sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise daily is essential for the reversal of diabetes in children. Exercise helps reduce the risk factor of diabetes like obesity. Limiting screen time is a great way to help your kid stay active.

Keep them off sugar: As a kid, it is natural that your child loves sugar and sugary foods. But a soda or a candy can be harmful to your child with diabetes. Avoid sugars, aerated drinks, pastries, cakes, fried foods, and desserts for your child. Fruit juices are rich in sugar content and should be avoided.

Ensure a healthy diet: Dietary modifications are one of the core features of diabetes management in children. A balanced diet that is deficient in calories can be helpful for children with diabetes. The diet should include complex carbohydrates, lean meat, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Practice what you preach. Eat healthy along with your child so that your child makes it a habit to eat well. Offer a plate of veggie sticks and veggie dip for snacks instead of processed foods. Give your child whole grains and fresh-cut fruits for improving their intake of healthy foods.


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Counselling: Explaining the condition to your child is a must. Your child has every right to know about their medical condition.This helps build confidence in your child and compliance towards treatment and management is better. Only when your child knows about their diabetes along with symptoms and treatment, will they be able to manage it properly.

Make health a habit: Ensure that you bring healthy habits into the family. Get rid of all processed foods in your fridge. Prepare meals for the day with healthier options so that your child doesn't munch on junk food or processed foods when hungry. Keep fresh fruits as snacks instead of juices.


Also Read: Effective And Easy Yoga Asanas For Combatting Diabetes