Huge rise in type 2 diabetes rates among the relatively young

Fri, 17 May 2013
The number of people under 40 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK has soared by an alarming rate over the past 20 years, according to new research .

Professor Craig Currie, from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, and colleagues examined NHS data on newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes from 1991-2010 and found that new cases of the condition rose by 275% during this period.

However, the increase among Britons under the age 40 was significantly higher at 600%.

The percentage of overall new type 2 diabetes cases diagnosed in under 40s rose from 5.9% of the total between 1991 and 1995 to 12.4% in 2005-10, indicating that the average age at which people develop the disease is steadily falling.

"We have known for some time that the incidence of new cases and prevalence the total number of people of type 2 diabetes has been increasing," Prof Currie said.

"We also know that there has been an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. This is thought to be dependent on many factors such as obesity, diet and family history."

Irrespective of the causes, type 2 diabetes can now be considered common among the relatively young, according to the researchers, which is worrying given that early onset of type 2 diabetes can result in "longer disease duration" and thus increase the risk of diabetic complications.

Prof Currie added: "This will undoubtedly place an increasing burden on healthcare resources and result in poorer quality of life. An earlier age of onset may also ultimately lead to premature death."

The research was published in the journal of Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism.
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