In the past Type two diabetes was typically only seen in people over the age of 40
A diabetes expert has said that children as young as 12 years old were presenting with Type two diabetes due to overweight and obesity.
Dr Mary Ryan is a Consultant Endocrinologist at the Bon Secours Hospital in Limerick with a special interest in diabetes, heart disease and hormonal health.
Speaking to the Irish Heart Foundation, Dr Ryan warned that the increasing rates of obesity and overweight in Ireland meant that Type two diabetes was in “epidemic proportions.”
Whereas in the past Type two diabetes was typically only seen in people over the age of 40, Dr Ryan said it was now being diagnosed in young children.
“What people don’t realise is three out of four so 75 per cent of patients with diabetes die of heart disease,"
Dr Mary Ryan, Consultant Endocrinologist , Bon Secours Hospital, Limerick
Dr Ryan explained that in Type 2 diabetes, the high sugars in the blood cause an oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol which makes it more damaging and this can lead to an increase in the formation of plaques, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
“What people don’t realise is three out of four so 75 per cent of patients with diabetes die of heart disease. You can actually prevent getting Type two diabetes by losing weight,eating healthily and increasing your exercise. Lifestyle is where we have to start,” Dr Ryan said.
“We have an increasing ageing population and unless we start educating people about changing their lifestyle, we won’t be able to deal with the amount of heart disease and diabetes that is coming our way. If we can create a healthier society it is a win-win for everyone,” she added.
Dr Ryan is a member of the Women’s Heart Advisory Group for the Irish Heart Foundation and a senior lecturer in the University of Limerick. She also participated in the health education programme “How long will you live” for four years on RTE and has been a regular contributor on radio and television programmes over the course of her career.
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