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Almost 220,000 expected to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes

The CDC is predicting a 700% rise in Type 2 diabetes diagnoses in the next 40 years.

MACON, Ga. — According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2019, 37.3 million Americans had diabetes. The CDC expects more people to be diagnosed with type 1 and 2 diabetes by 2060. 

Heather Hunter found out her son had type 1 diabetes in January 2020. She says it started with random rashes and then "He started throwing up and whenever he started doing that, I knew something wasn't right. I took him to the emergency room."

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas makes can't make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Without insulin, an individual may become sluggish, leading to diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in how the body regulates and uses sugar as fuel. Type 2 is more common in older adults, but an increasing number of children with obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in younger people. Research shows there could be 220,000 cases by 2060, among people under the age of 20. That is eight times more than now. 

Symptoms for type 2 include increased thirst and hunger, fatigue, and areas of dark skin around the neck and in the armpit area. Dr. Jessica Hutchins is a pediatric endocrinologist at Atrium Health Navicent, the increasing number of people under 20 is shocking but there are ways to manage it.

"They exercise more, they cut out the sugary stuff, the tackies, all the junk food that they like to eat at school, and they can get off their insulin, at least the influence sometimes, maybe not off of the pills," Hutchins said.

Minority communities like Black, American Indian, and Hispanic have a higher diagnosis of diabetes. According to the CDC, diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death. 

In Georgia, more than 2.6 million people have prediabetes. This is when the glucose levels are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Dr. Hutchins says exercising for 30 minutes a day can lower the risk.

"Make it a family affair, go for a walk after dinner, go to the park on the weekends, something to get them moving. I tell my kids, 'You want to use technology? Fine, go on YouTube and find a free exercise video.' There is so much out there that's available for free for people who don't have the financial means to have like a gym membership or something like that," Dr. Hutchins said.

You can learn more about the recent study here.

If you are looking for more information about diabetes, you can visit the American Diabetes Association website.

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