LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) considers diabetes a public health epidemic.
From the year 2000 to 2017, the amount of adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes has more than doubled in Kentucky. (WKYT)
From the year 2000 to 2017, CHFS reports the amount of adults with diabetes or pre-diabetes has more than doubled.
Lexington Physician Ryan Stanton the same correlates for children.
"We're seeing all adult illnesses younger and younger in the United States from across the board," said Dr. Stanton. Everything that used to be something that you got when you got over the hill, we're now seeing in young adults and even children."
The illnesses Dr. Stanton sees now, are life-threatening later in life, like fatty liver, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
"We know the earlier you have it, the more likely you are to get the complications at an earlier state. So kidney failure, liver-related issues, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, and wounds that don't heal," explained Stanton.
About 40 percent of children who have type 2 diabetes have no signs or symptoms and are diagnosed through routine exams, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Being overweight is a primary risk factor, along with inactivity and family history.
It isn't something a child would look forward to, but Stanton said children don't take it seriously when the signs start popping up in childhood, because the steps to lower chances of diabetes just aren't very 'cool.'
Steps for prevention include eating healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and encouraging a child to be active.
"The kids don't see this as an issue," said Dr. Stanton. "They don't see 20 years down the road when they lose toes, or they lose their kidneys. They are seeing right now and don't want to be different."
Stanton said it's the lifestyle these days, and parents have to be gatekeepers to protect their children from a medically messy future.
"[If] you're not investing now, you're investing when they are an adult," Stanton explained.