Three-year-old girl develops then reverses type 2 diabetes


A three-year-old girl has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, making her possibly the youngest person ever to have developed it. The girl was from a Hispanic family in Texas. She had experienced a number of symptoms, including excessive thirst and frequent urination. She weighed 77 lbs. (34.9 kg), making her one of the heaviest 5% of children her age. Based on symptoms, physical findings of obesity and laboratory results, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was made.

The girl's family had no history of diabetes. Although type 2 diabetes can be caused by a range of factors, including genetics and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the girl's doctors believe that her diabetes was caused by an unhealthy diet and obesity. After reviewing the family's diet, the girl's doctors discovered "poor nutritional habits." The child was given metformin, and her family was encouraged to eat healthier food in smaller portions. Within six months, the girl lost 25 % of her weight, and her blood glucose levels had returned to normal. Her diabetes had reversed; she no longer needed metformin.

Reversal of type 2 diabetes in children is possible by early screening of those children, early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and lifestyle modification. The incidence of type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically worldwide in children due to the epidemic of child obesity. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of type 2 diabetes even in very young obese children, although, of course, type 1 diabetes can also still occur in obese children and is in fact much more common in young children than type 2 diabetes.

The findings were presented at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm.

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