Two studies about diabetes bring good news and bad news. While diabetes is still a serious health problem, one study found that type 2 diabetes was increasing faster in children than type 1 diabetes. In the other study, researchers discovered that adults with diabetes saw a decrease in heart disease and stroke. For children, type 2 diabetes seemed to be caused by genes and environmental or behavioral factors. While type 2 diabetes is affecting fewer children, it is still increasing faster than type 1.
Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease. Also known as diabetes mellitus type 1, the disease causes the body to produce less insulin, which is a hormone made by the pancreas. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas making the insulin. Signs of type 1 diabetes include needing to urinate often, increased thirst, hunger, and weight loss. The cause of type 1 diabetes is currently unknown, and medication only treats the symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus type 2 is considered a metabolic disorder that is often characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and the relative lack of insulin. Symptoms of the disease include increased thirst and hunger, the frequent need to urinate, unexplained weight loss, tiredness, and sores that do not heal quickly. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and getting exercise. Type 2 diabetics can control their disease by diet, exercise, and medication.
Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and author of the diabetes in children study found that type 2 diabetes was increasing faster than type 1. Between 2002 and 2012, according to CBS News, the incidence of type 2 diabetes rose by 4.8 percent. For black children, the rate was higher, and for Asian/Pacific Islander children the rate was higher even still. The cause was not yet clear, Mayer-Davis went on to say.
The researchers theorized that because of obesity in youth, more children are prone to develop the disease. Mayer-Davis and her team of researchers examined the US Census and analyzed trends using mathematical models, according to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Using the study, the researchers found just over 11,000 children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. During the time of the survey (2002-2012), the researchers concluded that type 1 and type 2 diabetes rose “significantly,” particularly among children of color. Meanwhile, more research must be done to prove the results of the study.
By Cheryl Werber