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Alarming Trend: Type 1 Diabetes on Rise among Children
Submitted by kcarew on Wed, 06/13/2012 - 15:56
An alarming study released this past weekend revealed a 23% jump in Type 1 diabetes in children over eight years time. The data, reported at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association, was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. The study also found a 21% increase in Type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents under 20.
The startling data outlines the national prevalence of the disease that can lead to nerve, cardiovascular and kidney damage.
But what is causing the jump?
The study evaluated data from 20,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20 at hospitals and health centers in five states over an eight-year period, ending in 2009.
The growth in Type 1 diabetes is a mystery to researchers who haven't yet been able to explain why an increasing number of people are afflicted. About 80% of patients with Type 1 diabetes do not report having a close relative with the disease.
"We don't know yet what is triggering diabetes or why it is increasing,” Dana Dabelea, co-author of the study and professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado, Denver told the Wall Street Journal. "Both types of diabetes are increasing." said Dabelea. "For type 2, we have some clues as to why it's increasing, but for type 1, we still need to better understand the triggers of this disease."
One of the leading theories proposes that greater growth and weight gain early in a youth’s life stresses the insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas, exacerbating genetic factors and setting off the disease.
Another theory that was dispelled at the meeting this weekend was that Vitamin D deficiencies were to blame. Researchers studied the effects of large doses of the vitamin on 72 people over the span of a year and found that supplements had no effect on halting the development of diabetes.
According to the CDC, 18.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and an additional seven million are undiagnosed – costing the U.S. $116 billion in direct medical costs.
"There is now an urgent need for effective ways of preventing the disease in youth," said Giuseppina Imperatore, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, in an interview with WSJ.
So what are hospitals doing to help with the diabetes epidemic?
In 2007, Adventist Health System embarked on an effort to improve patient outcomes to manage the impact of diabetes and hyperglycemia among inpatients. Leaders at Adventist Health System recognized that the secondary benefits of glycemic management meant better outcomes with less infections, fewer complications, lower readmission rates and cost savings for patients and institutions.
Adventist Health System’s approach was the focus of a 2011 white paper regarding Readmission Reduction through Glycemia Management. You can learn more about their successes through the free white paper, downloadable here.