Type 2 Diabetes in Children (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Many children have had no symptoms before they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Usually, the illness is discovered when a blood or urine test taken for another reason shows diabetes.
A doctor may want to assess your child for type 2 diabetes if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) or weight above the 85th percentile for his or her age and gender or weighs more than 120% of ideal and has any two of these risk factors:3
Some children have very high blood sugar levels at the time of diagnosis. A child with very high blood sugar can become confused, sleepy, or unconscious, and may develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is an emergency. DKA is most common in people with type 1 diabetes and in some African-American people who have type 2 diabetes.
If a doctor suspects that your child may have type 2 diabetes, he or she will do a medical history, physical exam, and blood glucose testing. If the results of these tests meet the criteria for diagnosing diabetes established by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), your child has diabetes.
If a child has no diabetes symptoms, two blood tests done on separate days are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Tests used to diagnose diabetes are:
Other possible tests
If it is hard to tell whether your child has type 2 or type 1 diabetes, your doctor may do a C-peptide test or an autoantibodies test. (Autoantibodies are produced when the body's immune system does not work right.) These tests may not be able to confirm the type of diabetes your child has. Getting a definite diagnosis may take months or years. In either case, your child's sugar levels will need to be controlled right away.
Sometimes a doctor will do a quick home blood sugar test or a urine test for sugar to see whether a child may have diabetes. Although these tests are simple and can show possible diabetes, additional testing is needed to make sure your child actually has the disease.
Monitoring tests if diagnosed with diabetes
Because your child is at risk for diabetes complications (eye, heart, kidney, nerve, liver, and blood vessel problems), he or she needs to see a doctor regularly throughout life.3
Starting at age 10 or at the beginning of puberty, a child who has a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th percentile or higher for his or her age or whose weight is more than 120% of ideal and has two of the following risk factors needs to be tested for diabetes every 3 years:3
If the results of a glucose test show that your child's blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet at the level of diabetes (prediabetes), the test should be repeated 3 months later to see whether your child has developed diabetes.1 If your child eats a healthy diet and gets regular exercise, he or she may not develop diabetes.
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