Friday 24 May 2019

Children as young as ten being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and risk losing a limb or going blind as adults

Dr Sarah Kelly, Kathryn Thomas, Professor Niall Moyna and Thomas Barr at the launch of the My Life app
Photo: Julien Behal
Dr Sarah Kelly, Kathryn Thomas, Professor Niall Moyna and Thomas Barr at the launch of the My Life app Photo: Julien Behal
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Children as young as ten years old are presenting with Type II Diabetes as Ireland’s obesity levels continue to climb upwards.

But according to Professor Niall Moyna from the Centre for Preventative Medicine at DCU, this kind of Diabetes is wholly avoidable as the disease is intrinsically linked with life-style choices.

“Type II Diabetes is 95pc lifestyle. It used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes because you didn’t get it until your 40’s and 50’s. 

“But we now have pre-pubescent children in this country diagnosed with Diabetes so you can imagine what their journey is going to be. 

“If you’re a pre-pubescent diagnosed today, the likelihood is those individuals will lose a limb in their 20’s, half of them will go blind in their 30’s and spend the last few years of life in their 40’s going to Dialysis three days a week and it’s all preventative,” he said. 

Prof Moyna said that given that people are now typically living longer and beyond the age of 80, individuals have to make informed choices about their exercise levels and make smart diet choices to avoid decades of limited life. 

According to a study in The Lancet, Ireland is now on course to become the most obese country in Europe by 2025, along with the UK with a healthcare crisis looming. 

“The bottom line in all of this is we’re all going to live until beyond 80 years of age and we have to decide, how much of that life-span is going to be health-span,” he continued. 

“At the moment in Ireland, people are on multiple medications in their 50’s and 60’s so they’re living the last 30 years of their life in a state of ill health and on multiple medications with multiple ailments.”  

He was speaking at today’s launch of the MyLife app at the Marker Hotel, which is described as the first of its kind that lets users monitor and improve their own health score. 

Devised by Irish Life, it encourages users to select and set a fitness, nutrition and lifestyle goal each month, allowing people to earn points and rewards when they reach their targets. 

Using data compiled from your BMI to your lifestyle and your mental health, it’s being hailed as a game-changer in the personal fitness industry. 

“You’re going to get an overall view of you - who you are and the doctor is going to be able to give you lifestyle or surgical intervention, based on your unique profile. This app is the start of this revolution,” he added. 

“We will be able to individually prescribe treatments, we can be pre-emptive as well in predicting disease and that is hugely transformative.”

The event was hosted by RTE presenter Kathryn Thomas who said it was “the first App of its kind in the country.”

“It rewards people for living healthily and we all need an incentive,” she said. 

“It makes you think about your health differently. It’s really simple things like remembering to carry a bottle of water around with me. It doesn’t just do your steps, it tracks lifestyle, your emotions, your stress level, your sleep so you can key in areas you need help with.” 

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