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Type 2 Diabetes Progresses Faster in Kids: Study

High blood pressure, other complications seen in adolescence

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"The rapid progression of hypertension and kidney disease was surprising," said Dr. Jane Lynch, the lead author of the hypertension and kidney disease part of the study.

"We really felt like we were on top of these kids as far as treatments, and they still progressed," said Lynch, a professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Lynch said the hormones of puberty, which cause insulin resistance, are likely a main reason for this accelerated progression. Researchers don't know what will happen once the teens are out of puberty.

"We don't know what the progression rates will be," Lynch said. "But we do know that the ages for kidney transplants have been dropping."

Prevention of type 2 diabetes in children is essential, the experts said. "We need to focus on creating good habits rather than trying to reverse bad habits," Lynch said. "The time to start talking is during pregnancy, and it needs to continue in schools."

Chiang agreed that there needs to be a huge push toward educating people about the prevention of diabetes and obesity. "Not all people will be able to prevent diabetes, but there are steps we can take in the right direction, like teaching healthy eating and the importance of physical activity," she said.

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