Obese children as young as nine are now being diagnosed with a form of Diabetes more usually seen in adults aged 40 and over.
Growing numbers of obese American children and PCOS adolescents are developing Type II Diabetes, which used to be known as Adult-Onset Diabetes. Research shows that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome victims generally suffer from Insulin Resistance and have a strong family history of Type 2 Diabetes.
In the U.S., they are generally aged between 10 and 19. But a new survey in Britain shows that even 9-year-olds are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, which, in adults, is thought to cut at least 10 years from life expectancy. The reduction will be greater the earlier the condition develops.
Type II Diabetes begins when the body develops a resistance to insulin. As the need for insulin increases, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Young people with PCOS in America who are affected with Type II Diabetes belong to all ethnic groups. But it is more commonly seen in non-white groups. Native American youths appear to have the highest prevalence. In one survey, Pima Indians in Arizona, for example, had a rate of 50.9 cases per 1,000 among 15-19 year-olds. Another survey discovered 7.2 cases per 100,000 African Americans in the 10-19 age group.
It is hard to detect Type II Diabetes in children because they may show no symptoms and because blood tests are needed for diagnosis. Identifying Type II Diabetes in young people is difficult because criteria for differentiating between types of Diabetes is confusing. Young people with Type II Diabetes may, for example, develop ketoacidosis (acid in the blood), which can mask the condition. Children may be overweight but suffer, instead, from Type I Diabetes, also known as Juvenile-Onset Diabetes. This form is present soon after birth and is not linked to weight.
Doctors say that, unless young women with PCOS and their parents are educated to eat a balanced, nutritional diet and take regular exercise, the numbers with Type II Diabetes will continue to rise, causing a dramatic reduction in life expectancy for coming generations.
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