Rise in young diabetics

Diabetes usually manifests in people above the age of 40. However, the disease has recently seen a rise in young adults. People between the ages of 18 and 34 are becoming the victims of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The latter is becoming more common among young adults with each passing day. It is a life-long condition that occurs when the pancreas do not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells are unable to use insulin properly.

According to a recent study, almost 415 million people in the world are currently living with diabetes and there are thousands who remain undiagnosed. Due to early onset and long duration of diabetes, millennials are at a higher risk of developing diabetes-related complications at a young age, which reduces life expectancy and gives rise to other health problems. Poor diet and lack of physical activity have increased the risk for obesity and, in turn, the chances of type 2 diabetes in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. In many cases, teenagers and adults who have a family history of diabetes may develop this condition as well.

Risk factors

Age, family history, ethnicity, overall health status (blood pressure, obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome), and depression can increase the risk of diabetes. Once a person is affected by type 2 diabetes, they cannot reverse the condition. Moreover, it has been observed that among youngsters aged between 10 and 19 years, the rate of newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes is far greater in girls and women than boys and men.

Symptoms

In young adults, it can be difficult to track type 2 diabetes symptoms. Excessive thirst, urination, darkening of the skin around the neck or underarms, early puberty, and unexplained weight loss or weight gain can indicate type 2 diabetes. However, these symptoms may differ from one individual to the other.

Diagnosis

Doctors may suggest some tests to diagnose type 2 diabetes, for instance, fasting for a day to check the blood glucose level in your body. When fasting, the blood sugar level must be less than 100 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL). Between 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered as a sign of prediabetes, while readings around 126 mg/dL indicate that you are a diabetic. Other tests include HbA1c, which is an average of your blood glucose over the past two or three months. While oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) checks the blood glucose levels before and two hours after you consume glucose to see how your body handles the sugar.

If you suspect any of these above-mentioned symptoms of type 2 diabetes, a visit to a doctor is a must. Blood sugar test and hbA1c level tests are recommended by the doctors when a child is overweight as obese children are more likely to suffer from insulin resistance. Teenage girls who show signs of polycystic ovary syndrome like irregular menstruation, or excess acne and facial hair are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Prevention

Introducing small changes in the daily routine can make a big difference. Increased physical activity or daily exercise can delay or reduce diabetes. Weight loss can be a daunting task, therefore, not just the child, but the whole family should get involved in the process by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Children should drink more water and cut down sugary drinks like sodas, juices, sports drinks, and coffee or tea. Eating more fruits and vegetables is also beneficial in preventing diabetes.

Here are a few other healthy food habits that one should incorporate into his or her daily routine:

* Make healthy snacks at home

* Consume salads without dressing

* Go for grilled or broiled foods

* Choose low-fat milk

* Opt for baked chips instead of fries

* Practice portion control

* Maintain a healthy weight

Apart from these, it is important to educate your child and create awareness about diabetes and its consequences to help them make better choices on their own.

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