Type 2 Diabetes: Study Predicts ‘Stunning’ Rise in Disease Among Young Americans

A new model study is ringing alarm bells after finding that the number of young people with diabetes in the United States will increase by nearly 700% over the next 40 years.

The study, titled Projections of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Burden in the US Population Aged <20 Years Through 2060: The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, was published on 29/12/2022.

The study’s authors predicted that by 2060 there could be 220,000 people under the age of 20 with type 2 diabetes — an increase of about 675% from the number of young people with type 2 diabetes in 2017.

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“This new research should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. It’s critical that we focus our efforts on making sure all Americans, especially our young people, are as healthy as possible,” said Debra Houry, deputy principal director of the CDC, MD, MPH, in a March 29 .

Houry added, “This study underscores the importance of continued efforts to prevent and treat chronic disease, not only for our current population but also for generations to come.”

People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar to make sure it's at safe levels.

People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar to make sure it’s at safe levels.
(iStock)

Type 1 diabetes mellitus or type 1 diabetes was formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes.

It has no known cause and is suspected to be related to genetic or environmental factors, the Mayo Clinic website notes.

People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin and need to take insulin to survive.

Type 2 diabetes refers to a condition in which a person’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin and cells become resistant to insulin.

Typically, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in people as children; However, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can occur at any age.

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Conversely, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or type 2 diabetes, used to be called adult-onset diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

It is associated with obesity and inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes refers to a condition in which a person’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin and cells become resistant to insulin.

This causes a person’s blood sugar to spike, which over time can be dangerous, the Mayo Clinic says.

Diet and exercise are two ways people with type 2 diabetes can manage, says the Mayo Clinic.

Diet and exercise are two ways people with type 2 diabetes can manage, says the Mayo Clinic.
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This condition cannot be cured.

However, it can be managed with medication, proper diet, and exercise.

In the study, the researchers found that if the incidence rate of all types of diabetes in young people in 2017 remained the same by 2060—an increase of 12%—the total number of young people with diabetes would increase from 213,000 to 239,000.

However, over the past two decades, the number of young people with type 2 diabetes has “increased significantly,” according to the CDC.

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The CDC believes that “the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity” and “the presence of diabetes in people of childbearing age” may be two reasons why the number of young people with type 2 diabetes has increased so rapidly.

Those with type 2 diabetes may need the help of medication to better control their blood sugar.

Those with type 2 diabetes may need the help of medication to better control their blood sugar.
(iStock)

If the percentage increase in the number of young people with type 2 diabetes between 2002 and 2017 is extrapolated to future generations, the researchers found that the number of young diabetics could be as high as 526,000.

“Increases in diabetes — particularly among young people — are always a concern, but these numbers are alarming,” Christopher Holliday, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, said in the CDC’s press release on the study.

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Race and ethnicity are believed to play a role, the study found.

It found that there will likely be “a higher burden of type 2 diabetes among Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan youth.”

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“The startling projections from this study of the rise in type 2 diabetes demonstrate why it is critical to promote health equity and reduce the pervasive inequalities that are already affecting people’s health,” said Holliday.

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