Study: Type 2 diabetes is affecting more and more young people

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which involves an autoimmune reaction against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, type 2 diabetes does not require replacement of missing insulin right from the start. In the past, this form of diabetes typically affected older people. Overweight and obesity with unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are the main risk factors.

However, due to the spread of the “Western lifestyle”, these risk factors are now a problem worldwide – and more and more among children, adolescents and young adults. Chinese scientists have documented the effects of this on diabetes. “The age-standardized incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants (new occurrence of type 2 diabetes within one year; note) rose from 106.34 cases in 1990 to 183.36 new cases (per 100,000 inhabitants between 15 and 39 years and year; note. ) …”, the scientists wrote.

Years of healthy life lost

This also translated into an almost halved increase in healthy years of life lost to type 2 diabetes and in mortality. The combination of both factors is referred to in professional circles as DALY, which ultimately means the disease burden. The number of years of healthy life lost due to the form of diabetes formerly known as “adult-onset diabetes” increased among 15- to 39-year-olds worldwide from 106.34 per 100,000 people in this age group to 149.61 (2019).

Only in diabetes-related mortality was there a small increase in adolescents and young adults from 0.74 per 100,000 people and year (1990) to 0.77 per 100,000 people and year (2019). While states with a low gross national product and highly developed countries sometimes show different trends, one risk factor apparently affects all societies worldwide: overweight or obesity.

For the year 2045, 783 million diabetics are expected worldwide. There could then also be more adolescents and young adults among them than in the past.

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