Most people think that diabetes affects are only vulnerable in adults. Recent findings show that over the past two decades cases of type 1 diabetes increasingly strikes children under five years old. This was found through research in the U.S. and Europe.
“Why is there a rise in the number of cases of diabetes in children? Unfortunately, we do not have the answer,” said Terri Lipman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
In their study, Lipman and colleagues looked at data of children in Philadelphia with diabetes type-1 beginning in 1985. In 2004, the number of cases of diabetes in children in five years rose to 70 percent. Meanwhile, the number of cases of diabetes in children under 14 years rose to 29 percent.
Of the two types of diabetes, type 2 diabetes mostly affects adults who have lost the ability to process blood sugar, while type 1 diabetes affects many children because their immune system shut downs insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Even so, atype 1 diabetes usually occurs when the child grows older. The data that shows the number of children under five years suffering from type 1 diabetes makes experts puzzled.
“Diabetes attacking very young children is still a mystery,” said Dr. Carol Levy, type 1 diabetes specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, as reported by Reuters.
Some theories associated the increase in cases of diabetes in children under five years include the lack of vitamin D, lack of breast milk, as well as an overly hygienic environment. This causes the child’s immune system is too be active and kill the cells making insulin.
Levy advises parents to always keep an eye on the lifestyle of their children and the child’s weight. But Levy does not guarantee whether it will reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in children under five years old.
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