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Study Says Diabetes Surging among Young Americans

A study published on Tuesday showed that diabetes in young adults nearly doubled in the United States from 2001 to 2017.

The results showed that the proportion of young people aged 10 to 19 years with type 2 diabetes increased by 95% over 16 years, whereas the estimated proportion of young people under 20 with type 1 diabetes increased by 45%.

“Rising rates of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, which is preventable, has the potential to create a cascade of poor health outcomes,” said Dr. Giuseppina, who oversees disease follow-up and other areas at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Report: State of US Citizens with Diabetes 

This month, Reuters published a special report on the worsening outcomes for people with diabetes in the United States.

The new findings come from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, which was funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

One in 10 Americans, or 34 million people, have diabetes in the United States. About 1.6 million people have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease of unknown cause that requires insulin injections when the pancreas stops producing the hormone. Millions more have type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use it well.

Researchers found significant increases in diabetes among both sexes and across racial and ethnic groups.

Results on Type 1 and Type 2 

Type 1 diabetes is more common among white youth. Larger increases in type 2 prevalence were found among young people who are Black or Hispanic, according to the study published in JAMA.

However, according to Jean M. Lawrence, the paper’s lead author and director of the NIH’s Diabetes epidemiology Program, more research is required to specify what’s driving these increases.

“Increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes could be caused by rising rates of childhood obesity, in-utero exposure to maternal obesity and diabetes, or increased diabetes screenings,” Lawrence said.

Corona vs. Diabetes 

The COVID-19 pandemic also affected people with diabetes more harshly, including those who never got sick from the virus, but fell victim to the isolation and disruption it caused.

Moreover, the report found that deaths from diabetes last year surged 17% to more than 100,000. People, ages 25 to 44, suffered from the sharpest increase, with a 29% jump in deaths. 

By comparison, all other deaths except those directly attributed to the coronavirus rose 6% last year.