Doctors were able to reverse the disease with treatment and diet regimen.
Possibly the youngest person ever diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as “adult onset” diabetes, is a three-year-old girl in Texas.
Her case was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, according to huffingtonpost.com.
The Hispanic toddler, who presented at the Houston clinic of Michael Yafi, director of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Texas, in Houston, had symptoms of excessive urination and thirst, even though her past medical history was not unusual.
Her weight at 77 pounds and her body mass index, however, were in the top 5 percent of children her age.
Although she tested negatively for antibodies that would have been present in type 1 diabetes, tests showed she had high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children whose body does not produce insulin.
The toddler was placed on a diet and, because she was having difficulty swallowing tablets, was prescribed a liquid version of the drug metformin.
After six months, she had lost weight and no longer needed the treatment regimen. Yafi said her case was evidence that with early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and changes in lifestyle, type 2 diabetes could be reversed in children.
It is not possible to be certain the Texas toddler was the youngest ever diagnosed, since there is no global database, but Yafi said he had not found anyone younger in his own research.
The number of diabetics worldwide was estimated in 2014 at 387 million, and experts say the number could jump to 592 million by the year 2035.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates the health care cost of diabetes treatments at more than $600 billion a year worldwide.
Yafi added, “This is a global problem. Type 2 diabetes is no longer limited to adults. Now when I see any obese child I screen the patient for type 2 diabetes.”