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article imageBritain is fifth in world for type 1 diabetes in children

By Eileen Kersey     Jan 2, 2013 in Health
Type 1 diabetes in children is an increasing problem in the UK. As the number of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has risen Britain now has the fifth highest incidence in the world.
Type 2 diabetes is often linked to obesity and life style. Eating a diet high in fats and carbohydrates may not only make you fat but it could lead to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Many people who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are mature. Officially the age is given as above 40 but many patients are diagnosed with "mature" diabetes in their sixties and above. In the UK type 2 diabetes is on the increase but perhaps more worryingly so is type 1 diabetes in children.
Whilst it is generally accepted that a good diet, exercise and weight control can prevent type 2 diabetes, or manage it, type 1 diabetes is rather different.
What is type 1 diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes the beta cells in the pancreas stop making insulin. The illness and symptoms develop quickly (over days or weeks) because the level of insulin in the bloodstream becomes very low. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile, early-onset, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It usually first develops in children or in young adults. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections and diet.
Why some children develop diabetes is not clear. It is believed that it is a genetic condition, at least in part, but this has yet to be proved.
According to a report by the BBC today, each year in the UK 24 in every 100,000 children, aged 14 or under, are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The figure may on the surface may not sound that high but it is a notable increase on past data. In 2007 the Guardian reported that a study had shown type 1 diabetes among under-fives increased fivefold between 1985 and 2004, with one in 1,000 now affected by the disease. That trend has continued. The top four countries ranked above the UK in levels of type 1 diabetes in children are Finland, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Norway.
Health officials in the UK have been trying to get the message across about early diagnosis of diabetes. Whichever type of diabetes a person develops early diagnosis is essential. By the time many children in the UK are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes their symptoms are severe and their health deteriorating. This may mean that they have developed Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), a metabolic catastrophe. DKA is the main cause of death in children with Type 1 diabetes.
There are 4 Ts in questioning whether a child has type 1 diabetes. These are, is my child thirsty, needing the toilet more often to pass urine, tired and thinner. If in doubt consult a health professional.
More about Diabetes, Type diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, diabetes in children, UK health
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