Type 2 diabetes used to be known as ‘adult-onset’ diabetes, because unlike type 1 diabetes where the body is unable to produce enough insulin, the resistance to insulin characteristic of type 2 diabetes was known to take decades to develop. But in the last 20 years, type 2 diabetes among children has grown in as a result of poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity.

As a parent, you have good reason to be concerned about type 2 diabetes if your child is significantly overweight or obese and does not lead an active lifestyle. Over 80 percent of kids and adolescents who have type 2 diabetes are obese, and those who store excess weight around the middle area of their bodies are at a higher risk for developing the disease according to some studies. A lack of physical activity or exercise contributes to the risk because exercise improves sensitivity to insulin.

Like adults, children may be pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes for years before any symptoms emerge. Symptoms that are present may be so mild, they go unnoticed. Some things to watch for include increased appetite or thirst, unexplained weight loss, or an increase in urination. Almost two-thirds of children who have type 2 diabetes develop the skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans. It appears as a dark, velvety, thickened patch of skin that often appears in the groin, armpits or neck area, or between fingers and toes.

Children who have risk factors for type 2 diabetes due to genetics, weight, lifestyle or other factors should be thoroughly evaluated for this condition. Pre-diabetes can be identified ahead of full development of type 2 diabetes with the right approach. If your child is not pre-diabetic and does not have type 2 diabetes but you are still concerned about her condition due to risk factors, you should know that it’s likely much can be done to avoid the development of insulin resistance.

Functional neurology is an excellent choice for care of children at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and those who have it. Properly evaluating and managing children with either condition involves much more than putting your child on a ‘diet’ and encouraging outdoor play. Insulin resistance and the conditions leading up to it are typically quite complex. It isn’t as if a child begins to develop a ‘blood sugar problem’ out of the blue, and her health condition may involve much more than blood sugar and problems utilizing insulin.

A functional neurologist will take full advantage of in-depth, comprehensive testing to determine exactly what is going on with your child’s health. Nothing works in isolation in the body. Your child’s immune system, gut, hormones, nervous system and more may be being impacted by a health condition as a result of risk factors for type 2 diabetes. With a full picture of your child’s condition, a functional neurologist can develop a plan of safe, natural therapeutic support that is effective in improving their health—one that sets the stage for a lifetime of wellness.