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Rise of Type 2 complications in adolescents

A study published today in the Lancet has demonstrated an alarming rise of Type 2 diabetes among young people and with this an increased risk of its complications.

The authors of the Review have called for better approaches and management of Type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.

“These findings are very worrying," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

"It is essential to recognise the specific needs of adolescents to help them manage their diabetes effectively and defuse the diabetes timebomb.

“Not only are young people with Type 2 diabetes living with the condition for longer, but they also have to deal with the complications at a younger age.

“Adolescents with diabetes can rebel against the condition and not manage it as well as they should do. Some of these young people lose control of their diabetes as they strive to keep up with their friends and lead a ‘normal’ lifestyle. Some may stop attending regular appointments with their diabetes team, for example, and some may get out of the routine of testing their blood glucose levels regularly. 

“This leaves them more at risk of developing the various complications of diabetes such as blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.

“Diabetes UK is calling for services for young people with diabetes to be improved. We are seeing cuts in the number of Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurses (PDSN) and an increase in their case loads. It is recommended that there are 70 patients to one PDSN, but in some areas we hear of caseloads of up to 300. This is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.”

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