Date
17 August 2017
A study of Hong Kong diabetics reveals that 23 percent of patients developed the condition before the age of 40. Photo: Bloomberg
A study of Hong Kong diabetics reveals that 23 percent of patients developed the condition before the age of 40. Photo: Bloomberg

Youth, slimness no barriers to diabetes

Almost a quarter of Hong Kong’s diabetics are diagnosed before they are 40 and nearly 30 percent of those patients do not have weight problems, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday, citing a Chinese University of Hong Kong study. 

Researchers examined the cases of 10,129 people on the Hong Kong Diabetes Registry between 1995 and 2009 and found that 23 percent of the patients were young-onset cases (aged 40 or below) and diagnosed at an average age of 30. Of those cases, 27 percent had a body mass index lower than 23, putting their weight within normal range, the report said. 

The youngest patient was three years old and diagnosed after ants were attracted to the high sugar content in the child’s urine, the report said.

Chinese University professor Juliana Chan said a person is three times more likely to develop diabetes if one of their parents had the condition. That risk rises to six times if both parents had diabetes.

The researchers also found that young-onset patients were at much higher risk of kidney and cardiovascular disease than their adult-onset counterparts.

Chinese University honorary clinical associate professor So Wing-yee said the number of Type II diabetes patients aged under 16 had risen in the last 10 to 20 years, mostly due to family history and obesity.

Symptoms of the disease include sudden weight loss, thirst and frequent urination, the report said.

Patients should receive treatment in the first five years of being diagnosed to minimize the risk of complications, the researchers warned.

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EL/AC/SK

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