Almost 16 million Americans have it. It’s the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. And 2,200 new cases of it are diagnosed every day in the United States. It’s not cancer. It’s diabetes.
Diabetes spreads among young people
Diabetes, stereotyped as a disease that mostly affects elderly persons, is now spreading amont young people at a rapid rate.
Normally food turns into glucose (sugar), which is used for energy, in the human body. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help the glucose get into the cells in the body. In a diabetic patient, the body doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin created cannot be used as well as it should, which causes sugars to build up in the blood stream.
According to www.rense.com, the number of cases of type 2 diabetes, usually diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, has risen steadily among children and adolescents in the last 20 years.
“If you go back 20 years about 2 percent of all cases of new onset diabetes (type 2) were in people between 9 to 19 years old,” said Dr. Gerald Bernstein, former president of American Diabetes Association, on www.rense.com. “Now, it’s about 30 to 50 percent.”
Physicians and health experts blame growing rates of obesity among children and young adults for the growing percentage of type 2 diabetes.
According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of the nation’s six to 17-year-olds were overweight in 1998 compared to 5 percent in 1970.
The CDC reports that diet and exercise can help stabilize blood glucose and make the cells more responsive to insulin; but U.S. public schools don’t value exercise like they used to. Only 25 percent of U.S. public schools require students to take physical education classes and many after school programs are now canceled.
Televisions may be the result of little or no physical activity among children and adolescents. Watching TV, more than five hours daily, was linked to the significant increase in obesity in those 10 to 19 years of age.
Testing for diabetes
Frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, feeling tired most of the time and dry skin are among the most common affects of diabetes .
Sinclair Forbes, 22, a theology student at the Interdonominational Theological Center in Atlanta, said he experiences symptoms of diabetes.
“I feel my blood sugar going up and down. I feel myself getting hot. I always have to use the bathroom and my mouth is always dry and sometimes my feet feel tingly,” Forbes said. “I’ve been to a podiatrist that has recommended me to check for diabetes.”
If diabetes goes untreated, one could experience blindness, multiple heart attacks and strokes, complications from the flu and pneumonia, nervous system disease, heart disease, amputations and ultimately death.
Ebony Everette, diabetes information representative from the American Diabetes Association says young children experience the same symptoms as adult diabetic patients.
“The only difference between children and adults is that children tend to develop dark rings around the neck, under the arm or under the breast. Otherwise, frequent urination, excessive weight loss, irritability and blurred vision is common among all patients,” Everette said.
Everette says that females may experience reoccurring yeast infections.
Prevention before infection
Health experts recommend small ways to implement physical activity into daily activities: park your car several blocks from the office and walk, get off the bus or subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way, always use stairs instead of elevators and plan errands that allow you to walk.
Dr. Marion Nestle, director of the department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, explained on www.rense.com that, “In modern-day America, where there is enough food to provide each person with about 3,800 calories a day. Most adults need only 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day to survive.
“College students can go to the gym. On sunny days a student could walk. It’s easy to implement physical activity in simple ways like taking the stairs instead of using the elevators. Try to stay away from fried foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, and grain in proportion,” Everette added.