Prediabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes, and it develops when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
More than one in three American adults has prediabetes, but it’s becoming increasingly common in children. In fact, about one in five American children has prediabetes, too.
If your child has been diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and wonder what to do next. But don't worry; our Endocrine Associates of West Village team is here to help.
We specialize in pediatric diabetes care in Long Island City and New York, New York. With the right care and lifestyle changes, you can help your child manage their prediabetes and prevent it from progressing to diabetes. Here’s what to do next.
Understand prediabetes and its causes
A combination of genetics and lifestyle factors usually causes prediabetes. And while you can’t change genetic factors (like a family history of type 2 diabetes), you can change lifestyle factors. Two of the most common lifestyle factors that contribute to prediabetes are being overweight and not getting enough physical activity
If your child has prediabetes, it means their body doesn't process insulin as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and without treatment, prediabetes can cause high blood sugar levels over time and lead to type 2 diabetes.
Work with your child's healthcare provider
After a prediabetes diagnosis, it's important to work closely with your child’s healthcare team to develop a proactive treatment plan. At Endocrine Associates of West Village, we partner with you and your child to educate you and address the condition.
Treatment for pediatric prediabetes may include regular blood sugar checks, lifestyle changes, and medication. We can also help you develop a healthy eating plan for your child's dietary needs.
Encourage healthy eating habits
Healthy eating is one of the best ways to manage and reverse prediabetes. Encourage your child to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Explain the importance of healthy food for a healthy body.
Make healthy options readily available at home. Consider cooking more meals at home and involve your child in meal planning and preparation. When eating and snacking, teach them to avoid sugary drinks (like soda) and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
Promote physical activity
Regular exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity naturally. Most children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, so encourage your child to get active.
Exercise includes more than just working out. Consider suggesting activities like playing outside, riding a bike, or joining a sports team. Limit screen time and sedentary activities, like playing video games.
Help manage stress
Stress can have a negative impact on blood sugar levels, and it can affect people of all ages — even children. Help your child learn how to manage stress through relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Encourage them to take breaks when they feel overwhelmed and help them find activities to relax.
Monitor blood sugar levels
Depending on your child’s condition, we might recommend regular blood sugar checks to monitor their prediabetes. We can help you find a blood glucose meter to check your child's blood sugar levels at home, and you should keep a log of the readings to share with us at each appointment.
Stay positive and supportive
Managing prediabetes can be challenging, but staying positive and supportive can help your child. Encourage your child to make healthy lifestyle changes, and consider implementing healthy changes for the whole family so your child doesn’t feel alone. Offer praise and encouragement, and remember to celebrate their successes.
If your child has been diagnosed with prediabetes, it can be scary — but it doesn’t mean type 2 diabetes is inevitable. Start working with our pediatric diabetes team at Endocrine Associates of West Village to get a care plan that fits their needs. Call the office nearest you or request an appointment online today.