A 3-year-old girl diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has raised concerns for the health industry. It is a version of the disease that is usually seen in older adults. Most children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which is unrelated to lifestyle, unlike the second type.
There is growing awareness for diabetes, especially type 2. It is linked to lifestyle and, in many cases, can be controlled by the diet. BBC News reports that only 2 percent of UK children are diagnosed with this type of the disease, as most are diagnosed with type 1. The first type is when the immune system attacks the cells that control the blood sugar by mistake, and it commonly requires injections to help manage it.
“I’m very vigilant and screen all obese children I see for signs of the disease but I was surprised to find it in someone so young. The case is probably the youngest reported but with no global register it is hard to be sure,” explained Dr. Michael Yafi of the University of Texas Health Center.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and occurs when the body becomes tolerant to high glucose levels and does not produce enough insulin. The Telegraph reports that the Texas toddler weighed 77 pounds. She has not been named to protect her identity but was admitted to an obesity clinic when she suffered from frequent urination and thirst. These are the two initial signs of the disease. Doctors looked into her diet to find that her parents had been feeding her foods that were both high in sugar and fat.
There is a rising number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Despite that, this case has raised alarm bells. Too many parents allow their children to eat junk food without getting enough exercise. The parents of the toddler in this case were advised to put their daughter on a calorie-controlled diet and encourage her to do more exercise. She was also given metaformin in liquid form, which is the drug to control the disease. Results were seen within six months. The toddler had lost almost 21 pounds and her glucose levels had reduced to safer levels.
“The fact that this child’s blood sugars returned to normal after she lost weight demonstrates that this was obesity related but also that you can change your risk by changing your lifestyle,” said Dr. Justin Warner of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Diabetes is a serious condition. When left untreated, it can lead to the loss of limb. In the UK, 7,000 amputations per year are undertaken due to the disease. That equates to 130 operations per year. The majority of children are placed under anesthetic to have teeth removed due to tooth decay, which is also linked to the rising obesity problem and sugary diets. The disease can also lead to sight issues and heart attacks, among many other health issues. Type 2 diabetes is very rare among children, so for one so young to have it has raised alarm bells in the health industry around the world.
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