Fourteen-year-old schoolgirl Pantera Myhill has to pinch her finger and measure her blood sugar twice a day. She has to inject her insulin once a day and can’t enjoy sweets and sugar like other children. The teenager has to live on a strict diet and do exercises every day.
Pantera has type 2 diabetes.
“I would get thirsty all the time, I would get headaches for no reason and also my mood would change,” Pantera explains for ABC News.
Type 1 DM results from the pancreas’s failure to produce enough insulin and the cause is unknown. Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance which is a condition where cells fail to respond to insulin properly and the most common cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.
“Long term complications of diabetes include blindness, heart disease, kidney disease and nerve damage,” her doctor said.
Unfortunately, Pantera started getting a dark circle around the neck. When her mom saw it first, she thought she wasn’t showering herself well but the truth led to a startling diagnosis.
While a lot of people think that the ring is just dirt, it isn’t. It’s a sign of type 2 diabetes and the doctors explain it as a sign that your body insulin isn’t working properly.
“It is called Acanthosis nigricans, it manifests with darkness and thickness behind your neck, maybe your underarm too and often looks like dirt to most families,” the doctor says.
According to Mayo Clinic, “More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.”
Her mom’s goal is to spread awareness about the disease and let the parents know dangerous it is.
Pantera’s mom told ABC News: “I’d like other parents to know that it can happen to your child, even if you’re not diabetic and no one in your family is diabetic, it can happen”.
In order to prevent this disease you have to change your lifestyle a 100%. You have to eat healthy and also exercise regularly. Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumor in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.
Before the 1990’s type 2 diabetes was rarely seen in kids but as obesity rates climbed so did this form of diabetes. The situation is often alarming if left undiagnosed and untreated long.
This should be eye opening for all the parents who think that chicken nuggets and french fries are okay as a regular meal, because it really isn’t. But, with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle people with type 2 diabetes can live full and healthy lives with no symptoms of their condition.