No parent in his or her right mind would want to outlive their children. If anything they\u2019d want to do their best to keep their offspring healthy and happy. We have all seen and heard of people succumb to diseases like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and such. These, unfortunately, are no longer confined to older or aged people only. Young children are being diagnosed with shocking diseases, all caused by poor health habits and inactivity. One would be surprised to find out just how many diseases that affect youngsters today.\r\n\r\nHere are some of them and how proper nutrition and health habits play a role in preventing them from afflicting your kids.\r\nKids' Heart Disease - How Healthy is your Kid's Heart?\r\nGlobally, every 60 seconds or so, an adult dies of some form of heart disease. The starting place for cardiovascular fitness is during a child\u2019s formative years. Luckily some of the elements or \u201cfactors\u201d that play a role in determining a person\u2019s chances of developing heart disease can be modified or treated while our kids are still young.\r\n\r\nProblems that can be encountered with poor cardiovascular fitness are:\r\n\r\n \tHardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)\r\n \tFat or Plaque build up in the arteries (atherosclerosis)\r\n \tChest pains in the heart area (angina)\r\n \tBlockage of flow or ruptured heart muscle (heart attack)\r\n \tClotting that can cause a blood vessel in the brain to burst (stroke)\r\n\r\nRisk factors and points to ponder:\r\nCigarette smoke: If you or your partner are smokers, do be informed that second-hand smoke will, like actual smoking, take a toll on your family\u2019s heart health, so you know what to do! Quit now and encourage quitting among your family members.\r\n\r\nObesity: Sedentary ways of life and lack of proper nutrition leads to obesity. Other factors in play include easy access to video games, unhealthy snack foods and fast-food chains. From kids left at day-cares during the day to kids who look after themselves at home after school while mum and dad are at work, the main concern these days among parents is the safety of their kids, and we don\u2019t blame them! Re-evaluate your kids\u2019 lifestyle and take necessary actions so that both safety and their health coincide for their overall well-being.\r\n\r\nPhysical Inactivity: As parents, we end up leaving our kids at home when we go to work. This is usually accompanied with instructions to not leave the house. Gone are the carefree days of our youth when we\u2019d meet up with the other kids in the neighbourhood to ride bikes or play a pickup game of basketball or football.\r\n\r\nHigh cholesterol intake: Not all kids, when left to their own devices, will opt for the lunch meat and raw veggies in the fridge. Let\u2019s face it, what do they know about kids heart disease? Often times they\u2019ll go for the chips, cookies or anything else that doesn\u2019t require a lot of effort to acquire. These foods are generally high in saturated fats and have the propensity to raise the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or \u201cbad cholesterol\u201d. It\u2019s the oxidation of this cholesterol that causes it to stick to the walls of the arteries.\r\n\r\nMaintain healthy blood pressure:\u00a0Even with relatively poor eating and exercise habits, most kids will likely check out okay on the blood pressure. If their blood pressure rises above 140\/90mmHg, then there is cause for concern.\r\n\r\nChildren learn what they live and if parents teach their little ones early on to eat healthily and stay active, chances are they will carry this lifestyle with them through life. Limiting the number of sedentary activities and going outside more is an easy way to keep children active. When the whole family participates in outside play this reinforces the importance of healthy living and allows time for bonding as well.\u00a0 Even regular walks are fun and easy.\r\n\r\nSome ways to help maintain a healthy heart are:\r\n\r\n \tExplaining to your kids about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight\r\n \tEncourage regular exercise\r\n \tEnsure proper dietary intake for your kids\r\n \tDiscourage high salt intake\r\n\r\nAllergies\r\n\r\n\r\nAllergies, in general, are commonly explained as an exaggerated reaction by the immune system to something that is normally harmless to the body. When an allergic reaction occurs, the immune system identifies the matter as a threat and reacts incorrectly. This then results in an allergic reaction. When the allergic reaction occurs, the body creates allergy cells that emit chemicals such as histamine to defend the body against the perceived threat.\r\n\r\nThe most common causes of kids\u2019 allergies are:\r\n\r\n \tPollen\r\n \tFoods\r\n \tInsect stings or bites\r\n \tAnimals and pets\r\n \tMould\r\n \tDust Mites\r\n \tCleaning chemicals\r\n \tMedicine\r\n\r\nHow to tell if your child is suffering from an allergy?\r\nMany kids\u2019 allergy symptoms are very much like typical child illnesses, making it difficult to differentiate between allergies and childhood illnesses. Here are some of the most common typical indicative signs and symptoms of allergies.\r\n\r\nFacial Twitches\r\n\r\nKids with nasal allergies tend to pull faces or have facial twitches because they are trying to make the itching go away.\r\n\r\nItchy Nose\r\n\r\nMost allergies cause noses to itch. When your child frequently rubs his nose with the palm of his hand, especially in an upward movement, it is likely that he suffers from this irritating symptom of an allergy.\r\n\r\nGlue Ear\r\n\r\nSometimes kids appear to not hear properly or have a short attention span because of a condition called glue ear.\r\nThis is often found amongst kids with nasal allergies where some blocking of the ear canal causes them to have difficulty with hearing.\r\n\r\nTired Eyes\r\n\r\nThe common name is allergic shiner. It looks just like the start of a black eye and is the result of congested veins underneath the delicate skin surrounding the eye area. It has a dark blue darkening under or around the child\u2019s eye. It can affect both or only one of the eyes.\r\n\r\nPostnasal drip\r\n\r\nContinuous postnasal drip caused by allergies often leads to coughing and a sore throat. Many times these symptoms are confused with cold and flu symptoms.\r\n\r\nWrinkles\r\n\r\nSmall fine lines around your kid\u2019s eyes\u00a0are significant indications of the chest and nasal allergies.\r\nWhen to Visit Your Doctor?\r\nA rule of thumb with children\u2019s health is, if you are in doubt, you should visit your doctor to rule out any kind of allergy but also other conditions that may affect his or her health.\r\nCommon Food Allergies in Children\r\nThe most common food-related kids\u2019 allergies affect about 8% or approximately two million children in the United States. There are six particular foods that are known to cause allergic reactions in children.\r\n\r\n1. Eggs\r\n\r\n2. Fish and shellfish\r\n\r\n3. Milk\r\n\r\n4. Peanuts and tree nuts\r\n\r\n5. Soy\r\n\r\n6. Wheat\r\nTreating and Dealing with Child Allergies\r\nIt is not really possible to cure kids\u2019 allergies, but there are ways to relieve the symptoms. The best way to deal with or treat child allergies, in general, is to try to avoid or reduce the allergens.\r\n\r\nIt is also important to make sure that teachers, caregivers, family members, and your child\u2019s friends and their parents know about your child\u2019s allergy and how to deal with it.\r\n\r\nIf your child is suffering from airborne allergies, you can take the following steps to reduce contact or lessen the reaction thereof:\r\n\r\n \tClean all areas frequently\r\n \tDo not allow pets in your child\u2019s bedroom\r\n \tBathe pets frequently\r\n \tRemove rugs and carpets\r\n \tStay especially away from heavy drapes\r\n \tKeep areas prone to mould such as bathrooms, laundries, and basements clean and dry\r\n\r\nAsthma\r\nAsthma among school-age kids is quite common and affects 1 or 2 in 10 kids. It is highly likely that asthma runs in the family. This is not a contagious disease but the symptoms can very closely resemble that of a cold with the coughing and wheezing that comes on.\r\n\r\nKids\u2019 asthma makes a child\u2019s airways very sensitive. When their asthma flares up, their airway becomes swollen and narrows. This narrowing makes it harder to get fresh oxygen into their lungs and getting the carbon dioxide out. This can also be complicated further because the swollen \u201cpipes\u201d will produce mucus, making things sticky.\r\n\r\nAlways have your child checked by a physician so that they get the proper medication. Almost always the airways will return to their normal state after a flare-up episode.\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat Sets An Attack In Motion?\r\nEvery child is unique and so are the different elements that will set off an asthma attack. Sometimes it\u2019s the household pet. Their dander (think dandruff) can be very irritating for a\u00a0\u00a0 child\u2019s airway.\r\n\r\nSome kids are sensitive to dust, dust mites, mould and pollens.\r\n\r\nOther times an infection can be the reason for the flare-up for a kids\u2019 asthma. An asthmatic kid\u2019s airways can become more sensitive than usual when they come down with a cold or the flu.\r\nTreatments\r\nThe most obvious form of treatment is avoidance. But that\u2019s not always realistic, given our modern lifestyles today. If your child is very sensitive, you should make sure that they have medication on them at all times.\r\n\r\nNot all treatments are the same. Doctors will evaluate what causes your child\u2019s particular flare-up, how fast it comes on, and how serious it is. From this information, the doctor will decide on the appropriate medication. Most asthma medicines are taken via an inhaler.\r\n\r\nIf you or your child knows that they\u2019ll be in an environment that could possibly trigger a reaction, they should take some medication ahead of time to open up their airways.\r\nJuvenile Arthritis\r\nAcute inflammatory arthritis is what many young children develop after a viral or bacterial infection. The condition, though quite severe, usually vanishes in a few weeks or months. However, another type of arthritis among kids is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which will persist for months or years at a time.\r\n\r\nArthritis is often perceived as an old person\u2019s disease. Since we don\u2019t expect kids to get arthritis, many will suffer for months or years before diagnosis and proper treatment.\r\n\r\nThere are three forms of arthritis that affect kids:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Pauciarticular - This means less than four joints affected\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Polyarticular - Four or more joints affected\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Systemic-onset - Inflamed joints accompanied with high fever and rash\r\n\r\nPauciarticular arthritis: \u00a0Often shows up as a swollen knee or ankle that appears without reason. This is a very mild form of kids\u2019 arthritis and can be treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. More serious conditions may involve an inflammation of the eye. This isn\u2019t a painful type of inflammation but can lead to scarring of the lens and possibly permanent visual damage. In its early stages, only an ophthalmologist using a special instrument will be able to detect it. Children with juvenile arthritis should have their eyes checked every six months.\r\n\r\nPolyarticular arthritis: This is a more severe form of arthritis because it affects a greater number of joints and it usually gets worse over time. Those children that have this form will require active aggressive treatment.\r\n\r\nThe aim is to bring the inflammation under control as the first course of action. They will typically use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and possibly some very strong drugs. The necessity behind this is to reduce the symptoms and reduce any permanent damage.\r\n\r\nSystemic-onset juvenile arthritis:\u00a0This is one of the more difficult ones. It is also referred to as Stills Disease. Usually, the first signs of this type are on\/off high fevers and rashes. As arthritis progresses, conditions may become severe. While it is not a life-threatening disease, it can affect internal organs.\r\n\r\nAgain, the main form of treatment initially will be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.\r\n\r\nA great, naturally occurring anti-inflammatory cure is grape seed extract. This should be taken along with a full spectrum of multi-vitamin and minerals.\r\nDiabetes in Children\r\nDiabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood. Glucose, which comes from the foods we eat, is the major source of energy needed to fuel the body\u2019s functions. To use glucose, the body needs the hormone insulin. But in people with diabetes, the body either can\u2019t make insulin or the insulin doesn\u2019t work in the body as it should.\r\n\r\nThe two major types of diabetes are:\r\n\r\n1. Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells that make insulin\r\n\r\n2. Type 2 diabetes, in which the pancreas can still make insulin, but the body doesn\u2019t respond to it properly\r\n\r\nIn both types of diabetes, glucose can\u2019t get into the cells normally. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels, which can make someone sick if not treated.\r\nType 1 Diabetes\r\nType 1 diabetes can\u2019t be prevented. Doctors can\u2019t even tell who will get it and who won\u2019t.\r\n\r\nNo one knows for sure what causes type 1 diabetes, but scientists think it has something to do with genes. In most cases, a child has to be exposed to something else, like a virus, to get type 1 diabetes.\r\n\r\nType 1 diabetes isn\u2019t contagious, so kids and teens can\u2019t catch it from another person or pass it along to friends or family members, and eating too much sugar doesn\u2019t cause type 1 diabetes, either.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s no reliable way to predict who will get type 1 diabetes, but blood tests can detect early signs of it. These tests aren\u2019t done routinely, however, because doctors don\u2019t have any way to stop a child from developing the disease, even if the tests are positive.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u00a0Type 2 Diabetes\r\nUnlike its type 1 cousin, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented. Excessive weight gain, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are all factors that put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes.\r\n\r\nIn the past, type 2 diabetes almost exclusively affected adults, but now, more children and teens are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which experts say is related to the rapidly increasing number of overweight kids.\r\n\r\nAlthough kids and teens may be able to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by managing their weight and increasing physical activity, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes can\u2019t be changed. Kids with one or more family members with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing the disease.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSteps that help prevent type 2 Diabetes\r\n\r\nThese simple strategies can help reduce your kids\u2019 risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other associated health problems:\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Make sure kids eat a healthy diet.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Limit sugary foods and beverages.\r\n\r\n\u2022\u00a0 Encourage increased physical activity.\r\n\r\nIf you think your child may be overweight and, therefore, at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you determine what your child\u2019s weight goals should be and how to reach them. It\u2019s important for growing kids to get enough calories and nutrients for normal growth and development while preventing the excessive weight gain that can set the stage for type 2 diabetes and other health problems.