With the rise of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children in the US, it’s now more important than ever for both parents and children to understand ways to prevent diabetes, as well as being able to identify the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A pediatrician is an integral part of your child’s health, providing everything from screenings and vaccines to routine checkups and lifestyle recommendations to ensure that your child stays healthy.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects glucose levels in the body. When the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin do not produce enough insulin or are insulin resistant, this results in diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed during childhood and is not the result of a poor diet or being overweight. In those with Type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes in children.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is also becoming increasingly common in children because of the high rates of obesity. Type 2 diabetes means that the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Ensuring that your child eats right, gets regular exercise and maintains a healthy weight can greatly reduce your child’s risk for type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of childhood diabetes?
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes will appear suddenly, while type 2 symptoms will develop over time. Symptoms may include:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urination
- Extreme tiredness
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
- Sudden weight loss
- Cuts or sores that don’t heal
- Dark patches of skin
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child it’s best to see a pediatrician right away. The sooner a diagnosis is made the sooner your child can get the proper medication and treatment they need to manage their blood sugar levels. By managing your child’s diabetes right away our doctors can prevent potentially serious complications and hospitalizations.
How is diabetes treated?
There are a variety of lifestyle modifications and medications that will be recommended to help treat your child’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For both forms of diabetes, a healthy diet and active lifestyle are paramount. Talk with your doctor about what foods your child should avoid. You will also want to monitor your child’s glucose levels during the day to make sure that the insulin medication is working effectively.
All children should visit their pediatricians regularly for checkups, vaccines and care. Of course, if your child displays any symptoms of diabetes, call our office immediately.
While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to manage your child’s asthma symptoms and to reduce the risk for a flare-up. Of course, to be able to properly control your child’s asthma it’s important to understand more about this condition and what triggers your child’s symptoms. A pediatrician will be a valuable asset when it comes to discussing asthma treatment options and addressing any concerns that you might have.
Know Your Child’s Triggers
There are a variety of environmental elements and conditions that can also trigger airway inflammation and lead to an asthma attack. It’s important to figure out what your child’s triggers are so you can avoid them as much as possible. Of course, this is something that your pediatrician can help you determine as well. Common triggers include:
- Outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold
- Indoor allergens such as pet dander
- Viral infections
- Weather changes
Stick With Your Plan
Once a pediatrician has diagnosed your child with asthma, the next step is to create an asthma management plan (also referred to as an action plan). This plan is designed based on your child’s specific triggers to minimize the severity and the frequency of your child’s flare-ups, which also reduces the need for emergency medical care. So, what’s including in an asthma action plan? Here’s what should be in your child’s action plan:
- The medications prescribed to your child, along with how much they take and when they should take them
- Possible triggers
- Pinpointing the early signs of asthma flare-ups and what to do when they occur
- How to handle an asthma attack
- When to seek immediate medical attention
Take Medications as Directed
Medication is the most common way to manage asthma symptoms. Your pediatrician will prescribe a long-term controlling medication that your child will use daily to reduce airway swelling. When signs of a flare-up appear, a quick-acting inhaler can reduce swelling and prevent it from getting worse.
Know Signs of a Flare-up
Once your child has experienced a couple of flare-ups you’ll begin to pick up the warning signs so that you can start to recognize when another one might occur. These warning signs might come in the form of a persistent cough or wheezing. When these symptoms appear it’s important to have your child’s medication readily available.
If your child is showing symptoms and warning signs of asthma it’s important that you bring them in for an immediate medical checkup. Call your pediatrician today to learn more about ways to help your child better control their asthma symptoms.
An ear infection is one of the most common infections that children have to deal with. In fact, most children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they are five years old. Of course, it’s important to understand the telltale signs of an ear infection, as well as know how to treat the infection and when you should turn to a pediatrician for care.
An ear infection isn’t contagious and usually isn’t a cause for concern; however, you will want to monitor your child’s symptoms to make sure problems aren’t getting worse or don’t warrant seeing a doctor. In many instances, a child may develop an ear infection after they’ve had a cold.
Signs and Symptoms of an Ear Infection
So, how will you know if your child has an ear infection? Children who are old enough to talk will certainly be able to let you know that they are experiencing an earache or pain; however, a baby or toddler won’t be able to tell you that they are experiencing an earache. Therefore, signs that your baby might have an ear infection include:
- Increased fussiness
- A fever
- Pulling at the ears
- Crying or tantrums, particularly when lying down
- Having difficulty hearing noises or not responding to sounds
- Fluid draining from the ears
So, when should you wait out an infection and when should you call a pediatrician? You should give your child’s doctor a call if they have an ear infection and they are also experiencing:
- A rash
- Difficulty hearing
- Ear swelling
You should also turn to a doctor for care if your child:
- Has an ear infection and they are under 6 months old
- Is in significant pain or still experiences pain after two days of taking ibuprofen
- Also has other serious health problems
How is an ear infection treated?
In most cases an ear infection will go away on its own. If your child isn’t in significant pain and they don’t have a high fever your pediatrician may tell you to wait a couple of days to see if symptoms improve. If symptoms remain or get worse then you should bring them back to the doctor’s office.
While antibiotics are not normally prescribed to treat an ear infection they may be used if your child has a very high fever, is in significant pain or if their ear infection hasn’t improved within 48 hours. It’s important not to give your child any over-the-counter medications without first talking with your pediatrician.
Having healthy, happy children begins with a healthy diet. We know that in this day and age life gets pretty hectic and it isn’t always easy to eat right; however, for the health of your family it is important to make healthy eating habits part of your daily routine. The earlier in life that healthy eating habits are adopted by your children the easier it will be to keep them on this path to making smarter and healthier choices regarding their diet.
Of course, when you aren’t sure whether your child is getting the nutrients they need or you have questions or concerns about your child’s health a pediatrician can provide you with invaluable advice, insight and recommendations.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet for Your Children
A healthy diet is based on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods from each of the main food groups. This means getting a good balance of lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. It’s important to change up food options to make eating healthy more exciting. A healthy diet also means avoiding processed foods, sugar, trans fat and vegetable oils. Moderation is key. While your child shouldn’t be drinking sodas or eating baked goods every day, having a treat every once in a while certainly won’t hurt them and could keep them from binging on these treats when they are available.
Keeping Your Kids Healthy
Along with eating healthy it’s important that your children are also getting regular physical activity. This may come in the form of school or community sports. Kids and teens should get at least one hour or more of moderate to intense physical activity everyday, toddlers should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity and play every day and preschoolers should get at least 120 minutes of activity a day.
Of course, in order to keep your child’s energy levels up and their body ready for activity, they must be eating right. If you are concerned about your child’s diet or if you need to schedule their annual physical exam before sports season begins don’t hesitate to turn to your children’s doctor for screenings, checkups, and dietary advice and recommendations.
It doesn’t have to be confusing or difficult to ensure that your child is getting all the proper vitamins and nutrients they need through diet. If you are experiencing challenges getting your kids on board with a healthy lifestyle this is where your pediatrician can help. Call them today to schedule a consultation or to book your child’s next routine checkup.
Millions of children across the US regularly participate in some kind of sport. No matter whether your child is a dancer, gymnast, soccer player, or football player, the goals of parents are always the same: to keep their child healthy and to prevent injury. Having a pediatrician that you turn to regularly for care is invaluable, as this trusted medical doctor can also provide you and your child with guidance and counseling to ensure that you are taking all the precautionary measures necessary to prevent sports-related injuries in your little one.
Caring for Childhood Sports Injuries
With millions of kids also visiting the hospitals every year for sports-related injuries it’s important to acknowledge that the need for proper injury prevention practices is particularly crucial for children and teens. The most common sports-related injuries include repetitive motion injuries (e.g. tendonitis), ankle sprains, broken bones, and concussions.
Since many of these conditions are the result of overuse rather than injury symptoms may appear gradually over time. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your child when they complain about pain or other issues they are having. It’s also important that kids have ample time to rest and heal. If they don’t this can also put unnecessary stress the body and leave them prone to injury.
Minor sports injuries can often be treated with rest and home care. The RICE method is often used for treating minor to moderate sports injuries. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Children may also find relief through non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, but it’s important to talk with your pediatrician before starting your child on any new medication.
While you may wish to treat your child’s symptoms at home it’s also important to know when to turn to a pediatrician. Call your child’s doctor if their symptoms do not improve with at-home care, if symptoms get worse, or if their symptoms affect their training. These symptoms also require immediate medical attention:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Deformity (e.g. a misaligned bone)
- Numbness, tingling or weakness
- Trouble walking or putting weight on the injured part of the body
As any pediatrician will tell you, it’s always better to prevent injuries than to treat them once they arise. There are a variety of measures you can put in place to reduce your child’s risk for injury. These injury-prevention tips include:
- Making sure that your child gets a physical exam from their pediatrician at least once a year to make sure that they are healthy enough for physical activity.
- Make sure that your child is getting ample training throughout the year so that once the season rolls around their body will be ready for the demands of their chosen sport.
- Make sure that your child is wearing the appropriate footwear and protective gear. This includes helmets, mouthguards, shin guards, and other padding.
- Your child should also stretch and warm-up for at least 10-15 minutes prior to game time. A proper warm-up can greatly reduce injury.
If your child is experiencing pain, swelling or other problems as a result of a sports injury don’t hesitate to give your pediatrician a call today. Catching and treating sports injuries right away can prevent further complications.
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