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Age of People Affected by Type 2 Diabetes

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Age of People Affected by Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise promotes insulin sensitivity. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the United States affecting people of all ages, according to the American Diabetes Association in 2014. Type 2 represents the most common form of diabetes; 90 to 95 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have this form, according to the ADA. While a cure remains elusive, you can lead a healthy life while managing Type 2 diabetes. If you don't have diabetes but are at risk, make changes to reduce your chances of developing it.

Type 2 Explained

Diabetes occurs when your body doesn't make or is unable to use insulin -- a glucose-regulating hormone -- properly. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, a condition where your cells are insensitive to the effects of insulin. Initially, the pancreas over-secretes insulin to make up for this resistance, but over time, it loses the ability to keep up with the increased demand. You can, however, lead a normal life and prevent diabetes-related complications with treatment and recommended lifestyle changes.

Epidemic In Children

Previously rare in children, Type 2 diabetes accounts for as much as 45 percent of newly diagnosed pediatric cases, according to a University of Southern California clinical review. Children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are primarily of African American, Mexican American, Native America, and Asian American, reports the review. As with adults, the cause is insulin resistance. However, unlike adults, fewer than 10 percent of children improve with diet and lifestyle changes alone. The majority rely on medication to help control glucose, according to the review, which was published in the May 2002 "Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism."

Prevalence in Older Adults

Type 2 diabetes prevalence is increasing among seniors as well, according to a review published in the June 2013 issue of "Diabetes Therapy." The prevalence in adults 75 and older s 14 percent -- according to the review -- and another 13 percent is estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes. According to researchers, reduced physical activity, decreased muscle mass and increased body fat in senior adults makes them vulnerable to developing insulin resistance. Older adults are at greater risk of diabetes-related complications, because they may have had the disease a long time and typically have more than one chronic disease besides diabetes.

Risks the Same for All Ages

The risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, such as being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle, are the same across all age groups. This suggests that managing your weight through healthy eating habits and engaging in physical activity play a central role in reducing your risk, no matter what your age is. If you have Type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your condition based on your age and circumstances.

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