Profiling diabetes in young people

Updated: Oct 8

If you thought that diabetes was primarily a disease of the middle aged and elderly, think again. A twenty year ongoing study in the USA [1] has highlighted a 95% rise in Type 2 diabetes in 10 to 17 year olds between 2001 and 2017, with a 45% rise in Type 1 diabetes in the same period.


Perhaps more worryingly still, the study’s authors have also reported seeing a rise of between 50% and 300% in diabetes cases in the USA over the past year alone. Stress and a possible link between covid and diabetes have been put forward as possible contributors to the most recent rise, but so too has as has weight gain and obesity, already known factors in the development of diabetes.


Echoing these figures, a Reuters analysis of CDC data [2] revealed a 17% rise in deaths from diabetes in 2020, with those aged 25 to 44 seeing a 29% jump. That analysis also showed that whilst diabetes outcomes had seen a steady improvement over a number of years, that improvement has been reversed over the past ten years.


In the UK the figures are equally alarming with a Public Health England report [3] from July 2021 revealing that in England 1 in 3 children leaving primary school are overweight or living with obesity, with 1 in 5 being identified as obese.


Commenting in the Reuters report, Stanford Medical School professor Dr Robert Pearl said:

If we had spent more time and effort toward preventing and better managing diabetes, thousands of patients wouldn’t have needed hospitalization in the first place. And many of them would still be alive.

That comment is why we at Occuity are so proud of the screening devices which we are developing. The ability to deploy a non-invasive handheld device that can quickly identify whether an individual is non-diabetic, pre-diabetic, or diabetic could help to save lives.


With the device able to be used in a non-clinical setting, such as pharmacies or even schools or colleges, the way is open for more young people to receive an early warning of a potential diabetic condition. This in turn will enable them to receive appropriate treatment or make suitable lifestyle changes before the disease causes irreparable damage. And with diabetes in young people being more challenging to manage than adult-onset forms of the disease, with “young people developing complications much sooner than you would expect [1]” that early warning system could make a difference not only to young peoples’ immediate future but also to the rest of their lives.




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[1] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20210825/young-people-diabetes-rising

[2] https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-diabetes-covid

[3] https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/national-child-measurement-programme

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