Increasing number of children with diabetes

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Increasing number of children and adolescents with diabetes

According to the Leipzig University Clinic for Children and Adolescents, more and more children in this country are affected by type 1 diabetes: "The numbers are growing at a rate of one to two percent per year," said the director of the clinic Prof. Wieland Kiess to the news agency "dpa ". In addition, according to the experts, the risk for minors to develop type 2 diabetes - the reason: being overweight.

30,000 children and adolescents suffer from type 1 diabetes
According to this, there are currently around 30,000 children and adolescents in Germany who suffer from type 1 autoimmune disease - also known as “adolescent diabetes”. In contrast to type 2 diabetes, this is not related to improper nutrition or obesity, but rather belongs to the so-called "autoimmune diseases", the cause of which in most cases is an excessive reaction of the immune system against the body's own tissue, which is insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas are attacked and destroyed. Exactly what exactly triggers this autoimmune reaction has not yet been explained, but experts often assume a combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition. Thus, the hereditary factors seem to play a certain role in the development of type 1 diabetes, but an affected parent does not automatically mean that the disease is passed on, because this only happens in a few cases and even if both parents are type 1 diabetics the risk for the child "only" at 20 to 40 percent. As a further cause of the development of type 1 diabetes, certain environmental influences are often suspected, such as early contact with cow's milk or viral infections, whereby the so-called "enteroviruses" are particularly suspected.

Reason for increase in diabetes cases still unclear According to Prof. Wieland Kiess, the experts still have no answer to the question why the number of children and adolescents with diabetes is increasing, but more research is being done, for example at the university clinic in Ulm, where the data of affected children and adolescents would be recorded: "More than 130 children's hospitals send their data to Ulm. The system is exemplary for the whole world," Kiess told dpa.

In addition to the growing number of type 1 diabetics, according to Kiess, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder that leads to increased blood sugar levels and others. can lead to complications such as stroke, heart attack or retinal damage. Even if the tendency to type 2 diabetes is genetically determined, the development is mainly promoted by being overweight and lacking exercise, because both favor so-called insulin resistance, which is one of the most important causes of type 2 diabetes. According to Wieland Kiess, around 750,000 children and adolescents would be considered obese in this country - although only one percent of obese adolescents were type 2 diabetics, “but the risk of falling ill or becoming ill as an adult is significantly higher than normal people, ”says the professor.

High number of obese children and adolescents requires action How long it takes for an obese person to be affected by diabetes, according to Kiess, depends among other things on the genes. In the USA, for example, it would have been shown that obese people with dark skin or Hispanic origin develop diabetes relatively quickly, whereas in Germany the development of the disease would take a little longer. The reason for this could, according to the professor, be possibly “protective genes” from which white Europeans would benefit. In view of the high number of obese children and adolescents, action is urgently needed according to Kiess - even if the number of people affected would not increase at the moment, because the risk of type 2 diabetes is significantly increased compared to normal weight, as is the risk of cardiovascular disease Diseases. According to Kiess, there is, among other things, a close connection between obesity and social status: In socially better-off families with a higher level of education, fewer children would be affected by obesity than in socially disadvantaged, educationally disadvantaged families. Therefore, according to Kiess, education and preventive measures are particularly important in these families: "There has to be more in the kindergartens, sports clubs and schools so that poor children also have better chances of a healthy life."

Six million diabetics in Germany Six million people in Germany are affected by the common disease diabetes, according to the German Diabetes Society, which once again organizes the annual "Diabetes Congress", which researchers and doctors use from Tuesday evening to Saturday Diabetes in children and adolescents. (No)

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