Type 2 Diabetes in Children - Treatment Overview
Your child may need medicines if eating healthy meals and getting regular physical activity have not
lowered your child's blood sugar to his or her target level.
- Medicines for diabetes help the body
produce more insulin, decrease the body's
resistance to insulin, or slow the absorption of
carbohydrate from the intestine. Your child may need one medicine at some times
and more than one at other times.
- Some children need daily
insulin shots—alone or with other medicines. Even if
your doctor does not prescribe daily insulin, your child may need to take
insulin temporarily when first diagnosed or during illness or surgery. If the
progression of diabetes cannot be stopped, your child eventually may need to
take insulin daily.
Checking blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
Your child's blood sugar level may need to be checked regularly, for example, before breakfast and 2 hours after meals.
If your child has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, those
conditions need to be treated.
- High blood pressure is usually treated with
angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitorsor angiotensin ll receptor blockers (ARBs), because
these medicines also protect the circulatory system and the kidneys from damage
caused by diabetes. Sexually active teens should be warned that ACE inhibitors and ARBs
should not be taken during pregnancy.
- Weight loss and
well-controlled blood sugar can help lower your child's cholesterol. Your
child's doctor may recommend medicine if these lifestyle changes do not lower
cholesterol. Sexually active teens should be warned against becoming pregnant
while taking these medicines.
What to think about
Some children have very high
blood sugar levels when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A child with a
very high blood sugar level may develop the serious chemical imbalance
diabetic ketoacidosis and need to be treated with
insulin in a hospital. After blood sugar returns to a target level, the child
usually no longer needs insulin. His or her own body may start making enough
Treating diabetes with medicine increases the risk for
low blood sugar episodes. Your child's doctor will determine
the target range for your child's blood sugar that will prevent damage from diabetes
while causing as few low blood sugar episodes as possible.