Introduction: Incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) among young adults (age <= 40) has been increasing rapidly. We hypothesize that this could be due to increasing levels of stress seen in this age group due to demographic, economic and environmental shifts that have occurred in the past 30 years.
Method: Modifiable vs. non-modifiable risk factors were evaluated at a specialist diabetes and endocrinology clinic. Consecutive patients meeting the inclusions criteria (T2DM between the ages of 18 to 40), were provided with study questionnaire at their appointment over a 3 month period. The questionnaire assessed socio-economic factors, self-reported levels of stress, dietary habits, sleep duration and physical activity.
Results: 52 patients (Males = 38 (73%)) completed the study questionnaire. Mean age (± SD) at diagnosis of T2DM was 31 (± 5.8). Thirty five (79%) were immigrants to Canada, of which 47% had immigrated to Canada within the last 10 years (2010-2019). Of the study participants, mean stress level (on a scale of 1-10) was 5.9 (± 2.7). Work stress was reported by 79.1%, financial stress by 43.7%, family related stress by 39.5%, and unemployment related stress by 10.4% of the patients. Other stressors reported were weight management and medication coverage. Twenty (38%) participants reported sleeping an avg of ≤ 6 hrs/day. Moderate intensity physical activity (≥ 150 mins per week) prior to diagnosis was reported by 36% patients.
Discussion: High prevalence of modifiable risk factors such as stress, decreased physical activity, inadequate sleep was found in young adults with T2DM. Immigrants are at high risk of T2DM at a young age likely due to stressors as well as diet and lifestyle changes involved in relocating to a new country. Education regarding higher risk of T2DM at an early age, and interventions to reduce modifiable risk factors is paramount at an individual and societal level, in order to stem the epidemic of young onset T2DM.
S. Dave: None. K. Suntharamoorthy: None. S. Mohyiddin: None. U. Muhammad: None. S. Malik: None. N. Gupta: Speaker’s Bureau; Self; AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., Eli Lilly and Company, Merck & Co., Inc., Novo Nordisk Inc., Sanofi.