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Researchers Suprised By Rapid Increase In Diabetes Cases

Doctors say they knew cases of diabetes were increasing, but they didn't realize how quickly.

insulin

Photo: momboleum (Flickr)

A diabetes patient draws insulin into a syringe.

Diabetes is rising rapidly among young people, and researchers don‘t exactly know why it‘s happening.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 3 million children in seven states over an eight-year period.

It found that Type 1 diabetes, in which the body‘s immune system mistakenly destroys cells that produce insulin, has increased 20-percent over those eight years. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common and develops over time as the body isn’t able to properly use insulin, rose by almost one-third over the same time period.

“We knew the rates were increasing, but I don‘t think we realized just how fast the rates were going up,” said Dr. Andy Riggs, director of endocrinology at Peyton Manning Children‘s Hospital in Indianapolis.

While poor lifestyle is believed to contribute to some cases of Type 2 diabetes, the causes of both types are largely unknown.

“For Type 1 diabetes, there‘s a small genetic component, but there is some environmental trigger that is unknown,” Riggs said. “For Type 2, it’s a more complex and multi-factorial disease. I think we‘re still working on what‘s causing these rates to go up.”

The research found that Type 2 diabetes was more prevalent in Native American children, followed by African-American and Latino kids.

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