Diabetes is a worldwide pandemic for adults (20-79)
- Diabetes is a worldwide pandemic for adults (20-79) at November 2017, there were 425 million adults living with diabetes and the number is escalating by at least 5 million per year. Approximately, 90% of diabetes cases are Type 2. (World Diabetes Atlas, 8th edi, Nov 14, 2017, IDF)
Diabetes continues to increase also in youth (0 – 19)
- Diabetes continues to increase also in youth (0 – 19) worldwide but the ability to count the number living with the condition remains elusive for all. There is a strong correlation between diabetes and overweight/obesity in youth.
Type 2 diabetes can remain invisible for a long time
- Type 2 diabetes can remain invisible for a long time with the result that at time of diagnosis, cell damage can be in progress. Complications occur earlier and can be more severe for youth with T2D versus T1D; and T2D in youth is a more severe disease than T2D in adults with an increased risk of early mortality the younger the onset of T2D.
The emerging comorbidity of diabetes and mental illness
- The emerging comorbidity of diabetes and mental illness in youth impacts the essential ‘self-management’ learning task and brings new challenges for diabetes educators.
The challenge to achieve ‘continuity of care’
- The challenge to achieve Continuity of Care for all youth living with either type of diabetes is made greater by systemic disconnects between the paediatric and adult healthcare systems.
- Mental health comorbidities exacerbate healthcare systemic ‘disconnects’ and further threaten continuity of care.
Prevention or delay of Type 2 diabetes is possible
- It is estimated that 70% of T2D cases can be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, modest daily exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking. The same regimen can help prevent or delay diabetes-related complications for those living with either type of diabetes.
Early detection of Type 2 diabetes is essential
- Early detection of Type 2 diabetes is essential. Universal screening for T2D is expensive and potentially ‘risky’ (mis-diagnosis or ’missed’ diagnosis). The available practical actions are increased awareness and education to reduce risk along with encouraging youth and their families ‘to get tested’.
In addition to improved surveillance, more information and research are needed for diagnosis, ’self-management’ education, treatment and improved transition processes to help identify ’best practices’, especially for youth living with Type 2.