Two new studies from the American Diabetes Association warn of a “staggering” increase in the number of children with Type 2 diabetes. Doctors have reported twice as many cases as usual since the height of the pandemic.

Why are more children getting diabetes?

Children have suffered from the long months of quarantine. Increased screen time for both school and play has minimized their physical activity. They’re snacking more at home or may not have access to healthy foods, so they’ve gained weight. Finally, children have missed their regular physical check-ups as the pandemic forced many appointment cancellations. The signs and symptoms of diabetes have been going unnoticed.

Symptoms include:

  • unusual fatigue
  • increased thirst
  • a need to urinate more frequently
  • blurry vision
  • increased hunger
  • patches of darkened skin on the neck and armpits

Why childhood diabetes is so troubling

Board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM shares other doctors’ concerns about childhood Type 2 diabetes because of the long-term effects of the disease, for which there’s no cure. Children will carry diabetes into adulthood. Over time, diabetes affects the nerves and blood vessels of the feet, leaving them more prone to toenail problems, cracked skin, chronic infections, and toe or entire foot amputations. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the symptoms and to bring your children to the pediatrician for regular check-ups.

The good news is you can control diabetes. Parents can help their children manage their blood sugar and minimize the effects of diabetes on their feet through healthy lifestyle choices: losing weight, getting regular exercise, eating whole foods, and severely limiting processed foods and sugary drinks.

Dr. Wilhelm provides excellent diabetic foot care and treats all other issues of the feet and ankles at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax County, Virginia. For more information about the diabetic foot or make an appointment, contact us online or call our Centreville office at (703) 996-3000.

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