A three-year-old American girl has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, making her the one of the youngest reported cases ever detected in history.
It’s a surprising affliction, given type 2 diabetes is more of an ‘adult-onset’, common in the middle-aged and elderly.
Details of the case are being presented on Thursday to the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm. Michael Yafi, director of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Texas, Houston, will head the annual meeting.
A global registry doesn’t exist, so no one can say for sure if she’s the youngest person ever diagnosed with the disease. Yafi’s own research has not revealed any other cases in the age group, however.
“I’m sure there probably are others but they are either undiagnosed or not reported yet,” he told Reuters.
Diabetes is a substantial problem worldwide, with the number of diabetics estimated to be 387 million in 2014, projecting to soar to 592 million by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
“This is a global problem,” Yafi said. “Type 2 diabetes is no longer limited to adults. Now when I see any obese child I screen the patient for Type 2 diabetes.”
The toddler has shown improvements with a new diet and a liquid version of the drug metformin. Yafi is encouraged by her progression, proving Type 2 diabetes can be reversed in children by early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and changes in lifestyle.