Type 1 diabetes in children under 5 rising fast

In Philadelphia, the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children under 5 has risen by 70 percent in the last two decades.

A recent long-term study published in Diabetes Care found that this vulnerable population is probably in more danger than previously thought--not just in Philadelphia, but in all areas of the country.

The research

The data came from a University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing research professor, Terri H. Lipman, who currently has the only registry of data on children with diabetes that has been consistently collected since 1985.

Lipman notes that the numbers are indeed a cause for concern, especially since diabetes diagnoses in children tend to happen after the disease has already become a pressing health issue.

"These young children are at the highest risk for death because of often-delayed diagnosis," said Lipman.

According to her data, the incidence of type 1 diabetes in Philadelphia children under 5 has increased, on average, at a yearly rate of 1.5 percent. The rate increase, Lipman notes, was relatively stable until 2000, when it spiked dramatically.

A race issue

Black children under 5 are especially at risk, Lipman says, given that the treatment outcomes tend to be worse for this ethnic population.

In Hispanic children, there was a 27 percent increase of diagnoses between 2000 and 2004, and for white children, this increase was 48 percent during the same time period.

For all races, Lipman says it's important to "investigate risk factors" that might account for the overall increase of diagnoses in children so young.

"Type 1 diabetes continues to be the greatest risk for children in Philadelphia, three times greater than type 2 diabetes," she concluded.

Source: Science Daily

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