Diabetes in young people set to spike in coming years

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jan 06, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There are significant differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

It breaks down essential to a genetic issue or a lifestyle health problem.

"Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease meaning basically the cells in the pancreas that make insulin were attacked by the body's immune system. People with Type 1 diabetes are on injected insulin for the rest of their life,” UK Healthcare diabetes educator Angela Hepner said.

"Type 2 tends to be more lifestyle induced. People who tend to be more overweight and obese. We tend to see more of that than in type 1."

When looking at younger patients, typically they fall into the Type 1 category.

However, a recent study from the American Diabetes Association finds a growing trend of people 20 years old and younger developing Type 2 diabetes.

Hepner says it’s akin to more and more kids not creating healthy habits.

"As a general rule, our kids are getting a little bit larger across the board. They're very sedentary,” Hepner said.

This potential shift could lead to a startling spike in cases.

CNN broke down this study, reporting there could be a 675% increase in Type 2 diabetes patients in the 20 and younger age group by 2060.

Looking even deeper, this research finds there will be as many as 230,000 patients with either type of diabetes by 2060 if the current rate of increase continues.

However, if the rise is as exponential as 2002-2017, the study projects roughly 526,000 diabetes patients in the coming decades.

Hepner finds the data scary but sees two clear ways to try and reverse this potential trend.

"Number one is physical activity without a shadow of a doubt get them active in some form or fashion,” Hepner said.

“Then number two is get rid of the soda, get rid of the juice. The liquid carbohydrates and liquid sugars. Those are really hard on your body."

People with diabetes are at risk of complications including nerve damage, vision and heart issues, kidney disease, heart disease and premature death, according to CNN.