By Ashlee Brown
Type 2 diabetes in America has increased 43 percent since 2007, and has been common in children as young as age 10, said a health expert Wednesday at the opening of the 37th Hampton University Black Family Conference.
Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, told the conferees, "The Centers for Disease Control estimated that by 2050, 50 million Americans will have diabetes. Although, many people tend to overlook the illness, it is still a serious matter."
Rodgers explained the difference between Type 1 diabetes – previously known as juvenile onset – and Type 2 diabetes, called adult onset. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents.
"In this case, he said, "the body's immune system turns against the cells and the pancreas that are producing insulin for unclear reasons, which causes the body to lose its' ability to generate insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented if dieting and exercising become an element in everyday lives, because obesity is a major factor, Rodgers added.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, also known as GDM, is a form of high blood sugar that commonly affects women during pregnancy. Rodgers said that women who have a history of this disorder have a 70-percent greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, rather than women who haven't had a history of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.
This disease affects at least 7 percent or up to 18 percent of U.S pregnancies, said Rodgers.
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.