Teenagers who have diabetes may find themselves experiencing frequent thirst and urination, along with fatigue and irritability. A teen who has blood sugar levels higher than normal, but too low to have diabetes, may be considered "prediabetic." During this stage, teenagers may experience no other symptoms, though taking steps to lower blood sugar levels is still important.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is often an intermediate stage; blood sugar levels are too high to be normal, but are not yet high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. If no intervention is taken, teenagers may be diagnosed with diabetes within 10 years. Teenagers with prediabetes may experience darkened skin patches, blurred vision and other symptoms similar to those seen in those who have diabetes. A fasting blood sugar test or a glucose tolerance test may be used to test for prediabetes.
Risk Factors For Prediabetes
The biggest risk factors for prediabetes in teenagers involve lifestyle habits. A sedentary lifestyle, eating a poor diet with lots of processed foods and being overweight or obese are among the leading risk factors, says KidsHealth. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and a family history of type 2 diabetes also increase the odds that a teenager will develop prediabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you suspect that your teen may be at risk for prediabetes or diabetes, contact his doctor for an evaluation.
Though teenagers may be unable to control every risk factor involved in the development of prediabetes, teens can still do plenty. Eating a diet with unprocessed foods, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, can help normalize high blood sugar levels, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Teenagers should strive to get a full night's sleep, reduce stress in their lives and get plenty of physical activity, advises Boston Children's Hospital. Weight loss may also be necessary to normalize blood sugar levels.
For some teenagers, eating better and exercising are not enough to prevent or reduce high blood sugar levels, says Boston Children's Hospital. Doctors may need to prescribe medications to keep your child's blood sugar levels in control. If your teenager's blood sugar levels continue to rise, it may be necessary to take insulin.