Common illness on the rise: More and more children suffer from type 1 diabetes

More and more children in Germany develop type 1 diabetes

In Germany, more and more children are affected by type 1 diabetes. The metabolic disorder can have dramatic health consequences. Research results in recent years, however, give reason to hope that the disease can be prevented in infancy and infancy.

More and more children are developing type 1 diabetes

The number of people who develop diabetes is increasing. More and more children are also affected. And not just type 2, the more common form of diabetes, but also type 1. The autoimmune disease, in which the body produces little or no insulin at all, can have dramatic health consequences. But studies give hope that the disease can be prevented in infants and toddlers. This is pointed out by health experts on the occasion of World Diabetes Day on Tuesday (November 14).

Common illness among young people on the rise

The widespread disease diabetes has long been on the rise among young people too.

Type 2 is the most common form, often caused or promoted by an unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese, and lack of exercise.

This is different with type 1: “The causes of type 1 diabetes lie in a faulty reaction of the immune system to the cells in the pancreas that produce the body's own insulin. The immune system begins to destroy these cells, ”a statement on the Global Platform for Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes (GPPAD) explains.

The disease often remains undetected for many years until it suddenly manifests itself in often life-threatening symptoms.

Patients must take insulin to their bodies for life. Possible late effects include eye and kidney damage and problems with the heart and blood vessels.

However, if children with a type 1 diabetes risk are identified early, “complications and possibly the onset of the disease can be prevented,” says the GPPAD.

The most common metabolic disorder in childhood

According to a message from the Institute for Diabetes Research at the Helmholtz Center in Munich, type 1 diabetes is the most common metabolic disorder in childhood and adolescence.

According to the experts, between 21,000 and 24,000 children and adolescents are affected in Germany. The rate of new cases has risen significantly for several years, currently by three to five percent annually.

Type 1 diabetes develops slowly: Before the first symptoms appear, the child's immune system attacks the body's own structures.

Disease can possibly be prevented

However, research results from recent years give reason to hope that this autoimmune reaction and thus the disease of type 1 diabetes can be prevented in infants and toddlers.

As part of the Freder1k study, the Munich researchers have recently been offering a screening test for infants up to the age of four months.

Type 1 diabetes risk is determined using fewer drops of blood.

Early detection and preventive measures

“With the launch of Freder1k, we continue to push ahead with the prevention of type 1 diabetes. For this is the first time that we have the opportunity to train the immune system at an early stage in such a way that the misdirected immune reaction can be avoided, ”explained study leader Prof. Dr. Anette-Gabriele Ziegler.

"We want to achieve this by administering insulin powder through the oral mucosa and possibly prevent type 1 diabetes in the long term," says the director of the Institute for Diabetes Research.

"The early detection and possible future preventive measures against diabetes mellitus may have the same health-preserving importance in the future as the proven concept of vaccinations against serious infectious diseases today," said Dr. Martin Lang, Chairman of the Bavarian Professional Association for Pediatricians. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Diabetes: Destroying the Myths. Betsy Ray. TEDxVail (June 2021).