Long-Term Complications Linked to Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

Research shows that the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in youth has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, with around 5,000 new cases being diagnosed every year. Adolescent females have a 60% higher prevalence of the disease than males, as do disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups. A new paper by Zeilter and colleagues (2021, July 28) has revealed that there are serious, long-term complications associated with youth-onset diabetes. The report is a wake-up call for governments, policymakers, and healthcare systems to be prepared for the consequences of this pressing problem.

Complications for People with Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

The report revealed the findings of 15 years of study on young diabetes patients. The researchers found that 67% of these patients had high blood pressure, while 51% had eye disease. Also, 55% had kidney disease, 52% had high fat levels in their blood, and 32% had nerve disease. Some patients were also likely to develop more than one complication over time. In fact, the majority had two or more complications. The researchers warned that just a few effects of letting matters stand include the expense of dialysis treatment, medications, and bypass surgeries; the loss of potential years of productivity; and the personal impact on families.

Risk Factors for Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

Some of the biggest factors involved in early-onset diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, socioeconomic status and ethnicity. Long-Term complications: Having a family history of Type 2 diabetes, low birth weight, and exposure to diabetes mellitus in utero. Current studies also reveal a strong link between high-carbohydrate diets and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

Usually, the first line of defence against Type 2 diabetes is exercise and a healthy diet. Children who follow a nutritional plan formulated by a clinical dietician or nutritionist may be recommended a Keto-style dietary regimen. If so, they will require education on matters such as nutritional content and how to count net carbohydrates. Because children (especially older children) spend part of their day outside the home, they should know how to read labels and correctly subtract fiber from total carbohydrates to elicit the total net carbohydrates of specific foods. Children may be advised to keep their net carbohydrate consumption to under a specific number of grams per day (this number varies according to the child’s age).

Treatment Options

If a healthy diet and exercise do not improve the condition, treatment is necessary. As stated by study author Phil Zeitler, teens with Type 2 diabetes who have lived with this condition for a decade or more “have suffered strokes, kidney failure, heart attacks, toe and foot amputations — all while in their 20s.” The researchers found that one medication metformin was linked to lasting glycemic control in 50% of the children. While adding a second medication produced better results than metformin alone. They also found that it was very different for some children to change their lifestyles. Furthermore, many lived in very difficult home environments.

Youth-onset #t2d is increasing at a steady rate. A recent report reflecting 15 years of study has shown that youths with this condition have a wide array of serious long-term health complications. Lifestyle changes, governmental intervention, education, a new approach from health teams. New treatment approaches are necessary to avoid consequences such as strokes and kidney failure when patients are in their 20s.

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