The obesity epidemic appears to be fueling a hybrid type of diabetes that afflicts adults and children and, some believe, may increase the devastating complications of the disease.
Dubbed “double diabetes” by somen, the combination of types 1 and 2 diabetes symptoms confounds doctors attempting to accurately diagnose and treat patients.
“We don’t really know how prevalent this is,” said Francine Kaufma, head of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. “We are just at the onset of realizing it’s out there and trying to determine how do we get an understanding of it.”
Even Kaufma, former president of the American Diabetes Association and author of the book “Diabesity” – about the obesity epidemic and related rise in type 2 diabetes – does not always recognize the double diabetes cases.
One patient, Cameron Stark, had classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Then 14, the girl’s thirst was unquenchable. She was losing weight rapidly because her body wasn’t absorbing necessary nutrients. She was vomiting. She felt tired all the time, one day falling sound asleep on the marble floor of her home. At just a little under 5 feet tall, about 200 pounds and with a family history of the disease, Stark appeared a prime diabetic.
A blood sugar test confirmed it. She was given insulin to control the high sugar levels in her blood, and she joined the growing cadre of children diagnosed with what used to be called “adult onset” and is now known as type 2 diabetes.

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