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Adult-onset diabetes ... in children?

In recent years, the number of reported diabetes mellitus cases has been steadily rising. But this worldwide development is not an adults-only problem: more and more, children and adolescents are becoming affected as well. Studies have shown that in young patients, this increase involves both of the main types of diabetes.

Currently, type 1 diabetes accounts for the majority of diabetes in children and adolescents, and generally occurs before the age of 16, while type 2 is a relatively new pediatric condition. Originally, it was referred to as "adult-onset diabetes" because only a few cases were known where the patients were below the age of 30. However, depending on the region and the ethnicity, this diabetic form now accounts for 20 to 50% of all new diabetes cases among younger patients, making the old term of "adult-onset diabetes" obsolete. Some experts are even talking about an epidemic.

Pathophysiologically speaking, diabetes' underlying mechanism is an insulin resistance. The insulin receptors no longer react adequately to the hormones and the cells' glucose absorption is disturbed, followed by permanently elevated blood glucose levels. Diabetes usually remains undetected for a long time, and with it, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases, which can lead to damaged kidneys, eyes and an affected nervous system. There are multiple causes of diabetes, with lifestyle factors especially increasing the development of the condition. Lack of exercise, as well as overeating or malnutrition can all affect the development of insulin resistance.

More than 90% of these affected children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is not only associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, but also the likelihood of further disorders such as arterial hypertension, early arthrosis as well as mental disorders. The risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes during adulthood also increases in those who are already overweight at a young age. Thus, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that every third child born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

Besides these serious health consequences, the disease is also a significant financial burden on the health system - and yet, studies have shown that through simple measures such as weight reduction and regular exercise, diabetes can be easily treated and prevented. It is therefore important to reduce the mentioned risk factors and to recognize the disease at an early stage. In order to be able to take action as early as possible, regularly checking the weight of toddlers and small children is recommended. With regards to their specific needs, seca offers specially developed weighing systems for babies, infants and toddlers.

The use of the wireless ultrasonic measuring station seca 286 dp is the right choice to regularly check the  size and weight of children and adolescents. It takes the measurements autonomously, without requiring any manual input. It then sends the data, via our seca 360 ° wireless, to a printer or computer, where the data can then be integrated into an already existing patient data management system (PDMS). As a result, it saves time and avoids possible transcription errors, while allowing more patients to be checked more regularly.

Diabetes mellitus is already a health problem in many countries, and if drastic measures are not taken, type 2 will become one of the key challenges for global health care systems in the coming decades. Many cases of diabetes could be diagnosed at an early stage through simple diagnostic measures, which would make it possible to treat patients more effectively through simple lifestyle changes, or even avoid the disease all together!

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