Metabolic Syndrome in Children Assignment Help
Metabolism is the term used to describe reactions that occur in the cells of the human body that convert the food we consume into chemical compounds that help us to stay alive. Metabolic syndrome occurs when abnormal chemical reactions interfere with the normal functioning of the metabolism.
Metabolic syndrome in children is a combination of medical problems that increase the risk of children over 10 years developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease once they become adults.
These medical problems include:
- high blood pressure
- too much belly fat
- high triglycerides
Pediatric metabolic disorders are likely to occur if the body of the child does not process nutrients as it should. Some of the nutrients that may not be appropriately processed are proteins, fats, and sugars.
Most children with metabolic syndrome will have inherited it from their families. However, older children develop metabolic syndrome is as a result of being overweight or obese. Obese children who develop metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome in Children
Metabolic syndrome is linked to obesity, being overweight, and being physically inactive. Metabolic syndrome is related to a medical condition known as insulin resistance. Under normal circumstances, the digestive system will break down food into sugar.
Metabolic syndrome is also related to insulin resistance. The digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food we eat to convert them into sugar. The pancreas produces insulin hormone that is used to help sugar obtained from food to be usual.
However, in people with insulin resistance, their cells do not respond to insulin as they are supposed to. As a result, insulin cannot into cells as easily as it is supposed to. This causes blood sugar to rise even as more and more insulin is being churned out by the body to lower the body’s blood sugar.
Most cases of metabolic syndrome are due to a person being overweight. This is because being overweight can cause insulin resistance. Insulin is helpful in the absorption of glucose into the body.
However, insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to respond to insulin as it is supposed to. This makes it a little difficult for blood sugar to enter the cells.
Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome in Children
There are no obvious signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A major sign of metabolic syndrome is a large waist circumference. Signs of diabetes may also be present and noticeable if the level of blood sugar is higher than normal.
Symptoms of metabolic syndrome in children may include:
- abnormal odor of sweat, breath, and urine
- developmental delay
- failure to thrive in infants
- poor appetite
- excessive sleepiness
Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome
It is possible to identify metabolic syndrome soon as a child is born. This can be done by screening newborns. The screening tests use a blood sample to test for treatable disorders such as endocrine, hematologic, respiratory, and metabolic disorders.
Some of these disorders might not be very obvious hence the need to do the screening. If the tests are done and there are results are abnormal, the child needs to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible probably within 5 days.
Prevention of Metabolic Syndrome
Parents can prevent metabolic syndrome in their children by doing the following:
- ensuring the child gets enough physical exercise – physical exercises can help in maintaining and managing weight. Parents can reduce the hour spent by their kids in front of a television. Even as little as one hour of physical activity can help improve the flow of blood. This can also help reduce their cholesterol levels, their blood pressure and make them more sensitive to the effects of insulin.
- Improving the child’s diet – parents can improve on what their children drink and eat. Obesity is linked to many dietary factors such as lack of fiber and whole grains in the diet. A diet that lacks both may cause insulin resistance. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber and other micronutrients. Micronutrients are important because they help reduce the future development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Some of the habits that may increase the chances of a child developing cardiovascular disease are eating a diet that is high in calories, consuming lots of sweetened beverages and food, and lots of fast foods.
- Monitoring screen time – the amount of time spent just sitting in front of the television is directly linked to the number of calories consumed in a day and the body mass index of the child. Children between 18 and 24 hours should only be allowed screen time for video chatting. The parent needs to draft a family media use plan to help them monitor their children’s screen time to make sure they balance screen time and adequate physical activity and sleep.
- Avoiding exposing their children to tobacco smoke – smoking is known to be harmful to both the lungs and heart. If combined with other risk factors for metabolic syndrome, smoking can greatly increase the chances of the child developing heart disease.
- Ensuring the child gets enough sleep – lack of enough sleep predicts the risk of cardio metabolism, especially in obese teenagers or those who are overweight. Both too little and too much sleep can be a problem
Risk Factors that Should be Screened during Child Clinics
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) – it is important to screen children once a year for elevated blood pressure during the annual child clinic visit.
- obesity – children should be screened annually for obesity. The BMI formula should be used in this process. Children who are found to be obese can be recommended for a comprehensive weight management program by their doctors. Pediatricians who are specialized in this area can also help these children.
- Cholesterol – children between the age of 9 and 11 years should be exposed to fasting lipid screening or a non-fasting non-HDL cholesterol screening. Children whose BMI is equal to or greater than 85% should undergo a fasting lipid panel.
- High blood sugar (glucose abnormalities) – doctors recommend that children who are above 10 years and at a greater risk of more than 2 risk factors for metabolic syndrome should be screened with a fasting glucose test after every 2 years. If a child is found to have type 2 diabetes mellitus, they should be referred to a pediatric endocrinologist for monitoring and management.
How to treat risk factors for metabolic syndrome
Children with multiple risk factors for metabolic syndrome are at increased chance of developing diabetes or heart disease. However, this does not mean that they must develop these conditions.
The situation could worsen if the risk factors are not attended to and may lead to the two health conditions. Lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing risk factors for serious metabolic syndrome.
Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome in Children
A treatable metabolic syndrome is usually treated with special diets that help in preventing complications and ensuring proper health. Observing a strict diet can help a child to live a normal and healthy life.
Treatment options for metabolic syndrome in children include:
- Nutrition – a specialized diet can go a long way in helping treat metabolic syndrome.
- Medicine – medications and specific supplements in combination with a healthy diet can help treat metabolic syndrome. Doctors will discuss available options with the parent and help them to choose the best course of treatment.
- Special formulas – some cases of metabolic syndrome will require lifelong use of special formulas.
- pediatric genetic counseling – if a newborn is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the genetic counselor will help the parents to understand this condition, its implications in the long run, and how it is likely to affect the child as they mature.
Living with Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome which presents with consistently high levels of glucose and insulin is connected to several changes to the body that can be harmful. These changes include:
- changes in the ability of the kidney to remove salt which can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
- it may damage the coronary artery among other arteries which can easily lead to the development of stroke and heart disease.
- increased chances of blood clots forming. Blood clots can then block arteries and cause stroke and heart attack.
- increase in the levels of triglycerides and may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- fatty liver which causes the liver to be inflamed. If not treated, this can cause liver failure and liver cirrhosis.
- production of insulin may be reduced. This can trigger the start of type 2 diabetes which is linked to an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
Metabolic syndrome can occur when there are abnormal chemical reactions that interfere with the normal processes of metabolism. A huge number of cases of metabolic syndrome are inherited.
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