Type 2 diabetes becoming more common in children

The original article can be found in: The Barbados Advocate  By Patricia Thangaraj

There has been a change in recent times with regards to the type of diabetes with which children are becoming afflicted.

This is according to Dr. Oscar Jordan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Barbados Diabetes Foundation, who spoke to the media at a press conference at the Barbados Yacht Club yesterday.

“Diabetes in childhood has traditionally been Type 1. That means that the pancreas has been destroyed by antibodies to the degree where it can no longer produce insulin and therefore, insulin is required for survival. The type of diabetes that occurs in adults on the whole tends to be Type 2, where there is resistance in insulin. What is happening today, because of the increase in weight of individuals gradually over the last 10 years, is that we are seeing Type 2 diabetes, which is the type associated with adulthood, occurring in children and that is a really unfortunate situation, but it tells us that we need to do something urgently.”

He said that these diabetic children then begin to experience complications associated with this disease, which is why exercise is so important. “The other aspect of it, of course, is that when those children develop Type 2 diabetes within six to seven months, they are already starting to have complications and this is why it is so essential to get children exercising, increase the amount of activities in schools, and get people moving.”

In defining diabetes, Dr. Jordan stated that it is a vascular disease which affects the functioning of a number of body parts.

“Essentially, diabetes is what you would call a vascular disease. It affects tiny blood vessels and it affects large blood vessels. When it affects tiny blood vessels, it gives rise to three particular categories of illness. One is it affects the eyes – the small vessels in the eyes, giving rise to disease of the background of the eye and it has the potential to go onto blindness. This same type of vascular disease affects the nerves and gives rise to the loss of sensation, particularly in the limbs. The third is the kidneys, which are affected by this small vessel disease. When the large vessels are affected, then heart disease and strokes are the main causes.”

He stated that this can then lead to further complications. “Now if you take that argument to its logical conclusion, if you don’t have the sensory mechanism working in your limbs, you are more liable to have trauma and if you have trauma, you are more likely to get infections, ulcers, damage and of course because the healing process is not good in diabetics for a number of reasons, then that limb is at risk.”

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