By: Diana Barnes-Brown for Diabetes1
New research has shown that roughly 15,000 children and teens are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year in the United States. This new number demonstrates that despite concern over rising levels of childhood obesity (as well as its links to type 2 diabetes), type 1 is in fact more common.
SEARCH Diabetes in Youth is a large, multi-center study of childhood diabetes across racial and ethnic populations, and records data from ten locations throughout the country. In a recent report from JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, SEARCH study investigators reported that, based on the diagnoses of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in roughly 5.5 million children enrolled in the study, they estimate nationwide prevalence of type 1 diabetes in youth between 0 and 20 years of age to be roughly 24.3 diagnoses per 100,000 people per year.
|Know the Signs
|With more diagnoses than previously known each year, it’s a good idea to be aware of the major warning signs of type 1 diabetes.
Increased or excessive thirst
Weight loss despite increased appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Fatigue or lethargy
Absence of menstruation in teen girls
A fruity odor to the breath (ketoacidosis)
In non-Hispanic white children and teens, overall rates of type 1 diabetes were highest, with children between 0 and 4 at 18.1 per 100,000, children between 5 and 9 at 28.1 per 100,000, and children between 9 and 14 at 32.9. Type 1 was also frequent among non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, and African American children, a finding which runs counter to the popular belief that teens tend to have type 2 diabetes far more often. The highest rates for type 2 – 17 to 49.4 per 100,000 – were found in minority teens between 15 and 19 years of age.
The study used the largest sample size to date in any study on diabetes in persons under 20. Research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and supported by resources from the National Institutes of Health Special Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes, which provides $150 million of medical research support per year. The last of these programs will not renew funding unless it is reauthorized by Congress.
“Continuing this surveillance effort will document temporal trends in the incidence of DM among various racial/ethnic groups and accurately assess the future health care burden of DM and its complications in the U.S. pediatric and young adult population,” noted the study authors in conclusion. The SEARCH investigators will continue tracking diabetes in young people through 2009, with hopes of unlocking further clues to who is at risk and why.
If you notice these signs or symptoms in your child or teen, or a child or teen you know, it is important to seek evaluation by a trusted medical professional as soon as possible. Diabetes is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention and lifelong monitoring, treatment, and lifestyle changes.