A three year old obese American toddler may be the youngest person in the world to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Until now, type 2 diabetes used to be known for being an adult disease, being most common among middle-aged people or in the elderly. However, researchers found that in the last two decades the number of children with type 1 diabetes increased, mainly due to the lack of exercise and unbalanced diets.
More details of the analysis will be presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, which is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden. Michael Yagi of the University of Texas, Houston will be presenting the case.
Yafi said that the girl may be the youngest type 1 diabetes patient in history, in spite he doesn’t have access to a global registry. As far as his own research goes, Yafi said that he never encountered another case like this one, not in this age group at least. He told Reuters that he is sure there are other cases in the world but maybe they have no been diagnosed yet, or reported.
Yafi said that the number of type 1 diabetes cases in children are increasing, and that the problem is no longer limited to grown-ups. The doctor said that from now on, whenever he would see an obese child he will screen him/her for type 2 diabetes. He adds that the problem is now global.
When the three year old toddler came at his clinic in Houston, he observed that the girl’s symptoms were excessive urination, dehydration and thirst. Her medical records were not unusual either. However, Yafi knew that there was something wrong the the kid, since she weighed about 35 kilograms, meaning that she would be in the top 5% of the heaviest children of her age.
After some tests, Yafi saw that her sugar levels were higher than expected, while she tested negative in the antibodies test. That means that the kid was suffering from type 1 diabetes, which is the auto-immune type of the disease in which the body fails to produce insulin.
After six months of treatment, the girl lost weight and came off metformin, but she will have to respect a strict diet as of now.
Type 1 diabetes is more and more of a problem worldwide, as the numbers of diabetic patients is estimated to boost from 385 million in 2014 to a baffling 594 million by the year 2035. At least those are the calculations of the International Diabetes Federation.
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