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39,000 U.S. Kids Have Type 2 Diabetes

More Than 2 Million More Have Impaired Fasting Glucose Levels, Hinting at Diabetes Risk

Checking Blood Glucose Levels

Duncan studied data from 1,496 participants who denied ever being told by a doctor or health professional that they had diabetes. Those participants had taken a blood sugar (glucose) test after fasting for at least eight hours.

Roughly 11% showed impaired fasting glucose levels, meaning that their body had problems handling sugar after fasting. Impaired fasting glucose levels are often a step on the path towards diabetes.

More than 15% of all adolescents with impaired fasting glucose levels were overweight, 14% were at risk of being overweight, and nearly 10% were of normal weight, the study shows.

Duncan notes certain limits in the data, like the small number of self-reported diabetes cases. Still, the findings have "important implications," Duncan writes, because impaired fasting glucose levels can lead to type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes raises heart risks in adults.

Because participants weren't tracked over time, it's not clear which, if any, of the youths eventually developed those problems.

Fixing the Problem

The journal also includes an editorial by Arlan Rosenbloom, MD, of Children's Medical Services Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Rosenbloom questions the diabetes diagnosis in several of the 18 patients who claimed to have diabetes. Rosenbloom bases his questions on the medicines those patients reported taking.

However, Rosenbloom calls Duncan's percentage estimates "reasonably consistent" with other data.

"A substantial number of pediatric patients, those with body mass index greater than 85th percentile for age and sex, are going to require the kind of monitoring for cardiovascular risk factors that has been considered standard care for older adults," Rosenbloom writes.

It's possible to lower the odds of developing type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Rosenbloom writes that the "public health time bomb reflected in the report by Duncan" will hopefully spur societal efforts to curb obesityobesity, since obesity often accompanies diabetes and other health problems.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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