ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Pantera Myhill, 14, has to test her blood sugar twice a day. She also has to give herself a shot of insulin once a day - all to keep her type-2 diabetes under control.
It started with symptoms. "I would be thirsty all the time. I would get headaches for no reason. Also my mood would change."
But it was a strange ring around her neck that was the red flag that she had type-2 diabetes. Doctor Pallavi Iyor explains, "One thing is called acanthosis nigricans to describe the darkness and thickness around your neck maybe in your underarm area. It looks a lot like dirt to most families."
But the doctor says it's a sign your insulin is not working so well. Before the 1990's, type-2 diabetes was rarely seen in kids. As obesity rates in kids climbed, so did this form of diabetes and if left undiagnosed and untreated. Iyor says, "Long-term complications from diabetes include blindness, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage."
The study went on to say the disease appears to progress more rapidly in kids and is harder to treat. Iyor adds, "We are used to treating adults with pills but those same pills don't seem to work as well for children."
So many kids have to resort to insulin injections. Both Pantera and her mom want other families to know - if you make certain changes now -- you may not end up doing that. Kim Gupton says, "I'd like other parents to know it can happen to your child. Even if you're not diabetic, and no one in the family is diabetic, it can happen. The things you are feeding your children you think are okay for your kids, the chicken nuggets and French fries, its not okay. You really have to monitor what they eat because it does have a life-long effect on their health. "
If you would like more information on diabetes in kids – a Diabetes Family Day will be held Saturday, May 5, from 8:00 am till 3:00 pm at the All Children's Hospital Outpatient Care Center. Sam Fuld, outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays and also a diabetic, will be there to speak