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What is New-Onset Diabetes?

By J.M. Willhite
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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New-onset diabetes is a potentially serious condition that adversely affects the body’s ability to regulate glucose. Also known as type 2 diabetes, new-onset diabetes is characterized by a form of insulin resistance that historically affected individuals in adulthood; in recent years, however, diagnoses of this disease are becoming more common in children. Treatment for this chronic condition is long-term and necessitates the regular monitoring of one’s blood glucose levels and, in some cases, the administration of medication and supplemental insulin therapy.

Insulin resistance generally results from compromised pancreatic function. Normally, the pancreas is the main center for insulin production, storage, and regulation. Working closely with the liver, which produces and houses supplemental glucose, the pancreas helps maintain stable blood glucose levels. In the presence of insulin resistance, glucose does not respond to the pancreatic release of insulin by dispersing to feed the various cells throughout the body. Instead, the sugar accumulates in the blood completely unfazed by the presence of insulin; resistance may also occur if the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to motivate the proper dispersion of sugar.

Though there is no known, definitive cause for the sudden development of new-onset diabetes in certain individuals, there are several factors that may contribute to its manifestation. Individuals of advanced age or those with a familial history of diabetes seem to possess an increased risk for becoming symptomatic. A lack of physical activity and obesity also appear to play a role in the development of diabetic symptoms.

Individuals with this type of diabetes may experience a variety of signs and symptoms. Commonly, those with unstable blood sugar levels may develop excessive thirst and hunger. Some may demonstrate pronounced fatigue, unintended weight loss, and impaired sensory perception, such as blurred vision. It also is not uncommon for diabetic individuals to develop an increased susceptibility to infection or experience prolonged healing. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can contribute to the progressive development of life-threatening conditions, including impaired organ function, widespread organ failure, and premature death.

For most individuals, a diagnosis of new-onset diabetes is established with the administration of a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which determines the amount of sugar-laden hemoglobin in one’s blood. Test readings are intricate enough to establish blood sugar trends as far back as three months. In cases where the administration of an A1C test is not feasible, traditional blood tests may be utilized to read one’s blood sugar levels over a set period of time.

Treatment for new-onset diabetes generally necessitates proactive measures to maintain proper blood glucose levels. Individuals generally must monitor their blood sugar levels by taking readings multiple times a day. Regular exercise is often suggested to promote weight loss for obese or overweight individuals and as a healthy way to help control one’s blood glucose levels. Medications and supplemental insulin therapy may be recommended for individuals with symptoms that prove difficult to manage. Dietary changes are essential to ensuring the body is receiving proper nutrients, while at the same time promoting a healthy weight and preventing a worsening of symptoms.

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Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Aug 26, 2014

I personally think that there are both genetic factors and environmental factors involved in the development of new onset diabetes.

My parents both have type 2 diabetes. But they both developed it in their fifties. I developed it at only age 25 when I was not obese or leading a very sedentary lifestyle. I was under a lot of stress though. I was working three different jobs and also studying. I was under a lot of pressure and I think that stress became the tipping point for me. I can't find any other reason for why I developed new onset diabetes so early.

By ysmina — On Aug 25, 2014

@turquoise-- I'm not sure but like the article said, it has started appearing in children as young as 9 or 10 years old. But the majority of children with diabetes have type 1, not type 2. So type 2 is still most common among adults.

Every five years or so though, doctors mention how younger and younger children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I think it's mainly due to bad diet and sedentary life style. I wish parents would think twice about giving their kids fast food and chocolates and letting them play video games all day. These are the kids that have high risk for new onset diabetes.

By turquoise — On Aug 25, 2014

What is the youngest age for type 2 diabetes? Does anyone here have children with it? My sister is only 15 and has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recently. We still can't believe it.

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