The youngest type 2 diabetes patient has been found in the United States, leading to concern among health experts around the globe. A girl of three was admitted to a hospital in Texas with the initial signs of diabetes, excessive thirst and urination. She weighed 77 pounds, and doctors were shocked to see her blood sugar levels.
It is difficult to determine whether this really is the youngest case, but it is the youngest that most doctors have seen. Dr Michael Yafi, who was one of the first specialists at the University of Texas Health Science Center to see the child, said that it was the first case for him, but there is no global register to determine if it is the youngest case around the world. The alarming issue is that many cases may be going undiagnosed because of the assumption that children are too young.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with older people, due to the lifestyle element to it. It is found where the body has become tolerant to glucose levels, and the body fails to produce insulin effectively. The most common form of diabetes seen in children is type 1, which is when the immune system attacks the cells that produce the insulin, causing a health issue.
The toddler, who has not been named for privacy reasons, was checked by various specialists. Her parents were questioned about her diet, which turned out to be high in sugary and fatty foods. It was also found that her activity levels were low. Doctors recommended a low calorie diet and increase in activity, along with a liquid form of diabetes medication. Within six months, the toddler’s weight had dropped by about 20 pounds and her glucose levels were back to normal. She could come off the medication, making many health experts believe that it was entirely linked to her obesity.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health diabetic lead Dr. Justin Warner says that the UK has not seen a case in a child so young. In the UK, most children are diagnosed from the age of five, but only 2 percent of children are diagnosed with type 2. Many parents fail to acknowledge that obesity in childhood is creating health problems in the future.
Ill-managed diabetes is extremely dangerous. It is linked to sight loss, heart attacks and amputations. The UK health industry says that 7,000 amputations a year are due to diabetes. On Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush, a Channel 4 program, this figure was put into perspective by looking at the number of soldiers with amputated limbs due to the war in Afghanistan. It turns out there are around 300 soldiers, compared to the 7,000 in one year due to diabetes.
Obesity is a growing concern around the world. It is now clear that it is not just affecting older people. Obesity in children is leading to more younger patients being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/16/type-2-diabetes-three-year-old-girl-obesity
Image: cherylholt / Pixabay
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