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Huge Rise in the Number of Teens with Diabetes Expected in 40 years: CDC Report

Update Date: Nov 23, 2012 12:40 PM EST

In the words of an expert, there may be a potential catastrophe in the nation's healthcare system as the number of children and teens with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is expected to rise dramatically in the next 40 years.

While the rate of type 2 diabetes is expected to rise by four times, that of type 1 diabetes is expected to rise by three times, according to a new CDC report.

The report further reveals that even if the rates remain as they are now, the number of children and teens with type 2 diabetes may rise by almost 50 percent and those with type 1 diabetes will rise by 23 percent.

Currently, about 0.26 percent of those below 20 years have diabetes and the rise in both type 1 and 2 will be particularly high among minorities, a report in Atlanta Journal Constitution says.

"Diabetes is clearly increasing at an unacceptable rate, and while we are doing a whole lot better in terms of treating it, we simply can't keep up," American Diabetes Association Chief Scientific and Medical Officer Robert E. Ratner, M.D., was  quoted as saying by AJC. "The simple fact is we are losing the battle by not preventing this disease."

As less as 20 years ago, type 2 diabetes used to be a rarity in children, but it has now become common, with higher rates of childhood obesity, Ratner says.

Public health efforts, which focus on obesity in children, could have a huge impact on the future of type 2 diabetes, Ratner noted in an editorial published with the CDC report in the December issue of the journal Diabetes Care, according to the report.

There is an increase in the rate of type 1 diabetes among minorities. But type 1 diabetes is not linked to obesity and not much is known about how to prevent it.

Sharon Saydah, PhD, of the CDC says the reason for its rise is unclear, and while it used to be diagnosed mostly among white Americans previously, it is not so anymore. Children with diabetes have a six time higher medical expense when compared to teens who do not have the disease, the report says.

According to the predictions, in another 40 years, about 45 percent of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will be from minority populations, and CDC notes that it is significant that these children have access to care.

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