MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time ever, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers aged 10 to 18.
Until recently, pediatricians have mostly had to deal with type 1 diabetes, which has a different cause and usually a different management than type 2 diabetes. But, today, due largely to the rise in childhood obesity, as many as one in three children diagnosed with diabetes has type 2.
"Pediatricians and pediatric endocrinologists are used to dealing with type 1 diabetes. Most have had no formal training in the care of children with type 2," said one of the authors of the new guidelines, Dr. Janet Silverstein, division chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida, in Gainesville.
"The major reason for the guidelines is that there's been an increase in overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, with more type 2 diabetes in that population, making it important for general pediatricians, as well as endocrinologists to have structured guidelines to follow," she said.
For example, it can be very difficult to distinguish immediately whether or not a child has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, especially if a child is overweight. The only way to tell for sure is a test for islet antibodies. Because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, a child or teen with type 1 will have islet antibodies that destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. But, it can take weeks to get the results of these tests, according to Silverstein.
Weight doesn't play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, but it's possible that someone with type 1 could be overweight, making an immediate diagnosis of the type of diabetes very hard. If someone with type 1 diabetes is mistakenly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and given oral medications -- such as metformin -- in
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