The number of children diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically in the past eight years, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
From 2001 to 2009, the number of children with type 1 diabetes increased by 21 percent and the number of children with type 2 diabetes rose 30.5 percent. The increase was similar among boys and girls as well as among racial groups. Researchers say the reason for the increase is still in question.
Individuals with type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile diabetes because it is most often diagnosed in children, occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not use insulin properly.
Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, was once known as adult-onset diabetes; however, more children are being diagnosed with the disease.
Researchers say that childhood obesity is likely to blame for the increase in children with type 2 diabetes. Another risk factor is possibly the long-term effects of diabetes and obesity during pregnancy, which have also increased in the past several years.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases the risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, blindness and dementia. Diabetics have to take insulin or other medications to regulate their blood sugar levels. However, some medications for type 2 diabetes carry cancer risks.
For example, the type 2 diabetes drug Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and the drugs Byetta and Januvia increase the risk of acute pancreatitis, a possible precursor to pancreatic cancer.