With our busy schedules we eat out often, are my children in danger of getting diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune attack on the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. There are underlying genetic factors that contribute to the development of this disease, and ultimately once a child is diagnosed it is a lifelong condition. There are some nascent trials looking into immunomodulators to prevent the progression of attack on pancreatic cells, but at the moment there are no approved therapeutics to thwart the progression of the disease.
There are also genetic contributors at play that increase susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes, however, this condition often co-occurs with an unhealthy lifestyle. An elevated BMI, lack of exercise, and an increase in sedentary time can all contribute to the body’s inability to produce and respond to insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes may be prevented and even reversible with the right lifestyle modifications. An increase in physical activity, breaking up sedentary time with limits on gaming and screen time, and balanced nutrition, can all help control glucose levels and prevent complications that may ensue. Eye disease, neuropathy, kidney, and heart disease are some of the complications that can be thwarted with proper glucose control. Oftentimes changing the lifestyle of the entire family becomes essential to optimize the success of the patient. When parents and siblings are also on board, the opportunity for success is greater. Consuming more plant-based, high-fiber foods and limiting simple sugars can not only help with maintaining a healthy blood glucose range but can also positively impact our cholesterol levels and heart health; a win for all.