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Insulin Requiring Diabetes Up In Young Children

A US study has indicated that the number of cases of insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes has risen sharply in children under the age of Philadelphia over...

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|Feb 4|magazine6 min read

A US study has indicated that the number of cases of insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes has risen sharply in children under the age of Philadelphia over the 2 decade span, paralleling increases seen across the U.S. and in Europe.

The researchers said, the number of Philadelphia children under 5 diagnosed with type 1 diabetes rose 70% in 2005 from 1985, when a registry of such patients was started.

The number of diagnosed cases among all children up to age 14 rose by 29%.  Of the two most common forms of diabetes, type 2 typically affects adults who can still produce insulin, but whose bodies cannot use the hormone to regulate blood sugar. 

The type 1, previously known as juvenile diabetes, typically strikes children whose immune systems have killed off insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  

The Type 1 diabetes tends to commence in adolescence, but the experts said parents need to be aware that kids and preschoolers are also susceptible, given the increasing number of cases in very small children.  

The kids from Chicago to Colorado to Finland have similarly increased rates of type 1 diabetes, though the cause eludes researchers. 

Carol Levy, a type 1 diabetes specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York said, “This young group is a mystery.”  He also said, Make sure your child has a healthy lifestyle and maintains normal body weight, whether that's a guarantee we're going to reduce risk, we don't know at this point.” 

Lori Laffel, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston said, “It is important to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes, which can include extreme thirst, bed wetting or accidents in toilet-trained children or excessively wet diapers in babies.” 

The experts also said, by the time the disease is diagnosed, many infants and toddlers are very sick and the degree of illness tends to be more severe the younger the patient.”

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is a disorder of the body’s immune system that is, its system for protecting itself from viruses, bacteria or any foreign substances.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. It is the most common form of diabetes.