Friday, December 23, 2011

Pediatric diabetes

St. Luke’s Health Watch


Type 2 diabetes, once referred to as "adult-onset diabetes," has seen an alarming increase among children and adolescents over the past 20 years. This increase has paralleled the rise of childhood obesity. Since 1980, obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

Studies suggest that from 1990 to 1998, there was a 5 percent increase in Type 1 diabetes, but a 46 percent increase in Type 2 diabetes. Excess weight is the leading factor contributing to Type 2 diabetes, though a family history and certain ethnicities increase the risk. African-Americans, some Native Americans and Hispanics are especially at risk. Virtually all children with Type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese.

Initially, Type 2 diabetes may have similar signs and symptoms as Type 1 diabetes. These include excessive thirst and urination, rapid breathing and dehydration. However, there may be almost no external symptoms for years besides "acanthosis nigricans," which is dark, sunburned or dirty-looking skin on the neck.

Despite limited signs and symptoms, blood vessel damage is occurring in the eyes, kidneys and heart. This is why children with excessive weight need to be screened with a blood test at their physicals. If diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, children need to participate in diabetes education and nutrition counseling. This education promotes weight management via lifestyle changes, including nutrition and exercise. The doctor may prescribe a medication called Metformin if diet and exercise are not enough.

It is recommended that those with diabetes have regular medical visits and a hemoglobin A1c lab test every three to six months to monitor their response to medications and complications of the disease. The A1c test result reflects the average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.

There are several programs in the Wood River Valley that can help if you are seeking help or treatment. The St. Luke's Wood River Diabetes Self-Management Training program began in 2005, and provides nutrition education, diabetes management training and regular lab testing for adults with Type 1 or 2 diabetes. Last year, the average A1c test results for patients before beginning the program was 35 percent higher than the target range. After completing the program, the patients' average A1c dropped to 6.8 percent, within the target range for adults with diabetes.

St. Luke's, in partnership with the YMCA, developed a program called YEAH (Youth Engaged in Activities for Health) to address the health concerns of overweight youth. Our young participants meet with a doctor, dietitian, nurse, physical therapist and social worker to make individualized goals that help them move to a healthier lifestyle. Participants and their families also take part in nutrition and physical activity classes, where they can try new healthy recipes and have fun with a variety of physical activities.

Talk to your doctor to seek help or treatment, or to access one of these programs. St. Luke's Wood River will be expanding these two programs to help more families, thanks in part to a new grant from the State Office of Rural Health. St. Luke's is also working to establish a pediatric diabetes outpatient clinic where children with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can see their doctor, a dietician and a diabetes nurse educator in one visit.

Dr. Bart Adrian has practiced as a pediatrician for more than 30 years. He currently works in conjunction with primary care providers in the Wood River Valley to provide pediatric-level consultations, allowing residents to receive the expert care they need closer to home. 

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.