As obesity rates continue to climb in America, more and more children are starting to develop conditions that were previously rarely found outside of adults. Conditions like heart disease, gout, diabetes and breathing problems are resulting in an increase in children needing medical attention. Though public awareness of these issues is on the rise, rates of these diseases have failed to taper off.
Unfortunately, the effects of living with childhood obesity eventually caught up with Pantera Myhill. At just 14 years old, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to the 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." Sadly, this is a condition that she will most likely have to live with for the rest of her life.
Pantera's mother knew she could have medical problems with being overweight at such a young age, but a strangely dark ring around her daughter's neck was what first gave her a clue that something was wrong.
Prior to seeing doctors, Pantera noticed that she was frequently suffering from headaches and that she was constantly thirsty. If that wasn't enough, people close to her started noticing mood swings and bursts of energy followed by deep lulls of listlessness. These symptoms aren't all that uncommon in healthy teenagers, but the dark ring forming around her neck was not.
After a series of tests, doctors told Pantera that she was suffering from type 2 diabetes. Since her diagnosis, she has had to live a drastically different life. She tests her blood sugar twice a day and requires shots of insulin.
The ring that formed around her neck is known as acanthosis nigricans. Characterized by its dark pigmentation, WebMD states, "Sometimes acanthosis nigricans is congenital (something a person is born with). It also can occur as a result of obesity or an endocrine (glandular) disorder. It is frequently found in people with diabetes or a tendency towards diabetes and is most common among people of African descent.”
Though it might be too late to reverse Pantera's condition, hopefully others can learn from it. In an interview with ABC News, Pantera's mother said, “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.” The hope is that her struggles serve as warning to other families that have children that are obese.
With a strict diet and an increase in physical activity, the condition can be mitigated and controlled. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes go on to live full and healthy lives with little to no symptoms of their condition.
For more information on Pantera's story, be sure to check out the video below.
Via: Little Things