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Why Are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Cases Surging Among Children?

Why Are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Cases Surging Among Children?

Within the last year, rates of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been rising, especially in cases with children and teens diagnosed with either disease. The report of the trend looked at the children and teens of the United States of America, identifying over 200,000 individuals in the nation younger than 20 years of age as having been diagnosed with some form of diabetes.  The study was initially published in a report called “Incidence Tens of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes among Youths, 2002-2012,” in the New England Journal of Medicine

This report is one of the very first of its kind, as it focused on estimating trends in newly diagnosed cases of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.  Demographically speaking, the study looked at five major racial/ethnic groups in the United States, which included non-Hispanic blacks, non-hispanic whites, Hispanics, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as Native Americans.

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These specific findings were done by a site known as SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, which is as “a national multi-center study aimed at understanding more about diabetes among children and young adults in the United States.”  The findings that resulted from the study were ultimately made possible through funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

The joint effort by these two groups discovered that from the years 2002 to 2012, the rate at which patients were being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the youth level rose by roughly 1.8 percent every year.  Type 2 diabetes on the other hand rose at an even quicker rate, with the results showing new diagnosed cases of 2.8 percent each year.  The entire population observed for the study included a total of 11,244 individuals, with ages ranging from 0 to 19 for type 1 diabetes and 2,846 for the ages 10 to 19 for type 2 diabetes.

All in all, the findings that came of the 10 year study show a serious problem in the health of the children being raised in the United States.  From this, more serious questions must be asked in order to find out how to reduce such a devastating statistic.  On the topic, Giuseppina Imperatore, M.D., Pj.D, an epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion stated, “Because of the early age of onset and longer diabetes duration, youth are at risk for developing diabetes related complications at a younger age. This profoundly lessens their quality of life, shortens their life expectancy, and increases health care costs.” 

In addition to logistical setbacks like the cost of health care, the rising rate of diabetes in young children has other serious implications as well.  A primary effect can be the toll it may take on parents in terms of seeing their children in such a condition.

What is the cause of the increase in children with diabetes?

You may be wondering how this all happened in the first place. While a simple question, the answer may not be nearly as simple.  A variety of reasons exist that can contribute to the rise in cases of diabetes, from income to family history.  Income can play a vital role in the prevalence of diabetes because oftentimes lower income families will not be able to afford the higher price of healthier foods, and instead resort to purchasing fast food due to its ease. 

While the food may prove to be more of a convenience (especially for mothers or fathers who work multiple jobs and maybe do not have as much time to cook), the consumption of such food can have detrimental effects.  In addition to the unhealthy diets, another cause could be due to more sedentary lifestyles. Children aren't going out more. Instead, many remain inside, playing on their iPads and laptops, or watching their favorite TV shows.

Exercise is necessary for cardiovascular health, but those who are inside instead of out, are more susceptible to diabetes.  these necessary activities to increase overall cardiovascular health,

What is diabetes?

Diabetes classified by two main categories, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  Of the two diseases, type two is the more common type.  Another distinguishing factor between the two has to do with how the body interacts with insulin.  To start, insulin is hormone that is ultimately responsible for regulating how much glucose, or sugar, is present in the body’s bloodstream.

Glucose is vital for the inner workings of the body, due to the fact that it is one of the ways  for the body to obtain the necessary energy needed to function properly. In terms of type 1 diabetes, the body simply cannot produce insulin.  As for type 2 diabetes, the body fails to make the necessary amount of glucose, or can also fail to not make any insulin whatsoever. 

In terms of diagnosing diabetes, doctors will often assess a variety of potential contributing factors. These can include a patient’s body mass index (BMI), their age, medical history, and genetics. A variety of tests also exist to enable a diagnosis, which include a glycated hemoglobin test, random blood sugar test, fasting blood sugar test, as well as a oral glucose test.

The future for patients diagnosed with diabetes

Much  of the young diabetic population is growing each year.  This being said, it is imperative for various organizations to jump in and raise as much information as they can. Without doing so, the United States could see many adverse effects, as the country’s obesity rate is likely to see a significant shift as well.  The entire population must be informed of how to best maintain their health.  This can obviously be done through the use of PSA messages, which can focus on how to eat healthy and properly exercise. 

If these steps are taken, combined with a growing effort to research the most vital contributing factors to this trend, the United States very well could see a more positive result with a subsequent decrease in the rates of new cases of diabetes cases each year.