Diabetes before 40: Signs and symptoms of diabetes in young; tips to prevent it

By, New Delhi
Nov 06, 2022 11:04 AM IST

Diabetes in young is rising faster than people above 40. Here are all the signs and symptoms you should watch out for in your 20s or 30s.

Across the world, the cases of diabetes in young people are rising rapidly, worrying trend that could have even more serious consequences for young people who would be at risk of developing diabetes complications quite early in their life. According to Diabetes UK, the number of people under 40 diagnosed with diabetes in the United Kingdom has jumped 23% from about 120,000 in 2016-17 to 148,000 in 2020-21. This indicates that diabetes in young is rising faster than people above 40. Unhealthy eating habits, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are all the factors that seem to be contributing to this increase. (Also read: Diabetes: 8 lesser-known reasons behind your blood sugar spikes)

Diabetes before 40 is referred to as early onset type 2 diabetes, the disease that is usually more common in middle age or old age(Shutterstock)
Diabetes before 40 is referred to as early onset type 2 diabetes, the disease that is usually more common in middle age or old age(Shutterstock)

Diabetes before 40 is referred to as early onset type 2 diabetes, the disease that is usually more common in middle age or old age. Children, adolescents, those in their 20s or 30s are increasingly developing diabetes which was not the case a few decades back. The symptoms often get ignored because people do not expect a diabetes diagnosis so early in their life and the delay in treatment could cause significant damage to young.

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"More recently, type 2 diabetes is found to occur at younger age groups and we have even seen children with early onset type 2 diabetes. The main difference from usual type 2 diabetes is that the younger you get the diabetes, the greater the chance of getting complications. For example, if diabetes sets in when one is 20 years old, even after 20 to 30 years with the disease when they are likely to develop the dreaded complications, they will still be young say 40 or 50 years old. On the other hand, if one gets type 2 diabetes when one is 50 or 60 years old, the chances of developing complications are less and even if they do, it will be when they are 70 or 80 years old," says Dr V. Mohan - Chief Diabetologist and Chairman of Dr. Mohans Diabetes Specialities Centre.


The signs and symptoms of early onset type 2 diabetes are the same as in the case of an older age group type 2 diabetes person.

"They can have excessive thirst, urination, tiredness wounds which do not heal and numbness of the feet apart from even visual disturbances or blurring of vision etc," says Dr Mohan.


The main reason why diabetes is occurring at younger age group is because of obesity.

"Obesity is brought about by unhealthy eating habits especially junk food, excess of calories, sugar and fat intake and also lack of exercise. Stress can be another cause of getting diabetes at younger age. Generally, people with type 2 diabetes who get it at a younger age also have a strong family history of diabetes, either in one or both of their parents," says the diabetologist.


Prevention of diabetes can be done by lifestyle measures. It is very important to eat healthy food and to cut down on carbohydrate intake as well as reduce the total calorie intake.

"One should also do regular exercise and try to reduce weight if one is overweight. Sleeping on time is also helpful along with reducing stress by Yoga, Pranayama and meditation," says Dr Mohan.


It’s vital it prevent early onset type 2 diabetes to prevent the compromise on quality of life and to prevent complications of diabetes itself. It is never too late to begin making lifestyle changes.

Dr Altamash Shaikh, Consultant Endocrinologist, Diabetologist and Metabolic Superspecialist, Criticare Asia Hospital, Kurla tells us 5 simple ways to prevent diabetes before 40.

1. Physical activity: It is the most important medicine. Most of us are exercise deficient and need to refurbish with at least moderate activity if not intense. Moderate means brisk walking, household chores, gardening, moving objects up to 20 kg, active recreation, dance, and so on. To achieve the best results, please consult your doctor before beginning a new plan.

2. A 5% weight loss: It can provide a metabolically healthier life and improve many aspects of issues from diabetes. Increase proteins and control the excess carbohydrates by cutting to lower levels not zero. In a nutshell, adequate calories and nutrition are required for a healthy lifestyle. Avoid fad and crash diets, as well as self-diets.

3. Quit smoking: It is absolutely important for diabetes.

4. Stress reduction: This can be done by listening to music, dancing, counselling, meditation, yoga, practicing silence for a few minutes daily, etc.

5. Adequate sleep: One should get a sound sleep of at least about seven hours for preventing diabetes.

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