Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where the body loses its ability to produce insulin or produces or uses insulin less efficiently. People living with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin regularly, as must some people with type 2 diabetes. Most people think of diabetes as only a disease with high blood sugar, but it’s not true, it is also important to know that uncontrolled high blood sugar increases the risk of developing a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure. Dr Pradeep Gadge, leading Diabetologist, Gadge Diabetes Centre elaborates on the subject.
For people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a younger age, there may be more aggressive development of diabetes complications, including myocardial infarction and microalbuminuria.
Children and adolescents with diabetes usually experience common symptoms, (polyuria, polydipsia, weight loss, blurred vision etc) but many young adults or children will have only one or two. In some cases, they will show no signs or any symptoms. If the diagnosis is late and disease management is poor, it leads to people landing up with complications in a hospital emergency.
Uncontrolled diabetes appears to progress faster in young people than in adults. Younger people also seem to have a higher chance of complications, such as kidney and eye disease, earlier in life than people who get diabetes at a later age. People believe that just because young people with type-2 diabetes don’t need insulin, it is less sinister than type-1, but it’s not so.
Diabetes in children nearly always occurs with obesity, which may contribute to other higher-risk factors like blood pressure and high cholesterol/triglycerides levels. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend testing for children aged over 10 years who do not have symptoms of diabetes but who are overweight (over 85 percentile for body mass index or over 120 per cent ideal weight for height) if they have any two of the following risk factors:
• family history of type 2 diabetes
• signs of insulin resistance
• if the mother had diabetes or gestational diabetes while pregnant with the child
• high-risk ethnicity.
Overweight children are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as they are more likely to have insulin resistance. Keeping physically active reduces insulin resistance. Eating a balanced diet by limiting refined and fried foods helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Change in lifestyle habits remains an important component in the management of diabetes. Dealing with diabetes during young adulthood can be particularly challenging, but careful management and taking action early can help you maintain health and reduce your risk of developing serious and life-threatening complications later on.