Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Issues for the Medical Care of Pediatric and Adult Patients

Michael J. Beck, MD, Barbara J. Evans, RN, CDE, Jill L. Quarry-Horn, MS, RD, CDE, James R. Kerrigan, MD


South Med J. 2002;95(9) 

In This Article


Diabetes mellitus is classically divided into 2 types, type 1 and type 2. The preconception is that type 1 diabetes solely affects children and type 2 diabetes affects only adults. As we begin to understand more about this disease, we are learning that it is not so easily compartmentalized. With the rising incidence of obesity in the United States, increasing numbers of children, adolescents, and adults, are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.[1,2] Health care providers who care for pediatric patients, adult patients, or both, must now be knowledgeable about management issues that are specific to each age group.

In this article, we review type 2 diabetes and how it affects both pediatric and adult patients. Epidemiology, screening guidelines and prevention strategies, diagnostic criteria, treatment modalities, and sequelae that develop in the absence of diligent glycemic control are presented. While control of blood glucose level is helpful in preventing long-term complications, new data suggest that type 2 diabetes may be preventable.[1] Since the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in both pediatric and adult populations, the health care industry must focus on (1) prevention or delay of onset/progression of this disease; (2) improving quality of life by delaying development of long-term complications; and (3) decreasing the overall economic burden of type 2 diabetes, which was expected to exceed $100 billion (direct and indirect costs) in 2001.[3]


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