A study recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association has revealed that the rates of teen diabetes in the United States were initially underestimated. A previous study suggested that diabetes in people with ages from 12 to 19 years was 0.34% percent. However, the rate revealed in the most recent study is 0.8 percent for the same age group.
Researchers randomly selected 2,606 people for diabetes testing, ranging from 12 to 19 years old, for a morning examination, after a period of fasting necessary to provide conclusive test results. Among the participants, the tests have revealed that 62 teenagers have diabetes, while 512 only have prediabetes. Also, 20 percent of those 62 with diabetes, or 20 teenagers didn’t know they had the disease.
According to the study’s researchers:
“These findings may have important public health implications because diabetes in youth is associated with early onset of risk factors and complications. A relatively large proportion was unaware of the condition, particularly among non-Hispanic black participants and Hispanic participants, indicating a need for improved diabetes screening among adolescents.”
Also, 50 percent of black teenagers and 40 percent of Hispanic were not aware they had diabetes while the rates for prediabetes in the same groups were 21 percent and 23 respectively. According to these results, it seems there is a racial disparity regarding awareness of diabetes, non-white teenagers being more likely to have diabetes and not knowing about it.
The Director of the Clinical Diabetes Center, Dr. Joel Zonszein said that:
“It is alarming to see such a high incidence of teen diabetes when it should be close to zero.”
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar level exceeds normal levels but are not high enough to be considered diabetes. If no action is taken, eventually prediabetic teenagers will develop diabetes later in life, but fortunately, it can be prevented with a change of diet and lifestyle.
“It is disturbing that we continue to see study after study, showing a high incidence and prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes in younger and younger populations, and how poorly it is diagnosed and treated.”
Dr. Zonszein explained that he saw the study as a call to arms for the United States to change their policy and facilitate diabetes testing for everyone.
Are you one of the millions of Americans affected by diabetes? Do you know anyone that recently discovered that he’s diabetic? Or managed to prevent developing diabetes?
Image Source: Pixabay