Type 2 Diabetes in Women: Young, Slim, and Diabetic
Stephanie Yi, 29, had a body most women would kill for. She never had to work hard to maintain her long-limbed, flat-bellied frame—weekend hikes near her northern California home and lots of spinach salads did the trick. She could easily afford to indulge her sweet tooth with the occasional buttery, sugary snack. At 5'7" and 120 pounds, she had, she figured, hit the good-genes jackpot.
But everything changed two years ago, when a crippling fatigue left her sidelined from college classes. Listless, she dragged herself to a doctor, who suspected a thyroid imbalance. A blood test and a few days later, she received the alarming results: Her thyroid was fine; her blood sugar levels were not. She was prediabetic and on the cusp of developing type 2.
Stephanie was stunned. Of course, she'd heard diabetes was a health crisis. (At last count, 26 million Americans had the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) But weren't type 2 diabetics fat, sedentary, and on junk-food-and-soda diets? Stephanie hadn't been to a drive-through in ages; she didn't touch meat. Yet, somehow, she'd gotten an illness most slim women dodge.
A Growing Threat
The CDC estimates that one in nine adults has diabetes and, if current trends continue, one in three will be diabetic by the year 2050. For decades, typical type 2 patients were close to what Stephanie pictured: heavy and inactive. They were also older, often receiving a diagnosis in middle age or beyond. But while such type 2 cases continue to skyrocket, there has been a disturbing increase in a much younger set.
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