The prevalence of diabetes in U.S. adolescents is higher than previously estimated.
More U.S. teens have been found susceptible to diabetes than previously thought. According to a new report, nearly one in five teenagers in United States already have diabetes or high levels of sugar in their blood which is a precursor stage to diabetes.
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Previously, a very limited data was available on the prevalence of diabetes among young people in United States but the latest study is relatively detailed and provide us with some of the most astonishing results. The study was intended to estimate the number of adolescents who have diabetes, the percentage of those who are unaware of their diabetes and lastly those who have prediabates or who are at high risk of developing diabetes.
For the study, researchers have used the data from 2005-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in which more than 2,000 adolescents age 12 to 19 were recruited. All the participants were randomly selected for the survey.
Researchers found that 62 of 2,606 adolescent had diabetes, 512 had prediabetes where a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes while 20 of them went undiagnosed, meaning they do not know they had the disease.
"It is alarming to see such a high incidence of (childhood) diabetes when it should be close to zero," said Dr. Joel Zonszein from Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
"The very high prevalence of prediabetes, diabetes and especially undiagnosed diabetes in adolescents is worrisome.”
The study does not specify the type of diabetes but both types of diabetes are different from each other. Type 1 diabetes is an is an autoimmune disease in which body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin whereas in Type 2 disease body gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin and this type is usually preventable. With healthy changes in lifestyle, the risk of Type 2 diabetes can be decreased.
If something has not done with those who have prediabetes, they will likely end up developing disease in future and the prevalence of diabetes can lead to more severe conditions such as heart disease, poor circulation of blood in vessels and arteries and even feet or leg amputation.
“It is disturbing that we continue to see study after study, showing a high incidence and prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes in younger and younger populations and how poorly it is diagnosed and treated,” said Zonszein.
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“If we were able to screen, prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, we can or should certainly be able to do it in diabetes, a much more common and costly disease.”