Youth vaping continues to increase, linking nicotine directly to surging pediatric prediabetes not attributable to obesity, prediabetes now linked to early eye damage

by Clark Miller

Published October 7, 2022

Elevated blood glucose poses a threat to the eyes even prior to a diabetes diagnosis, according to a Dutch population study.

In cross-sectional data of Maastricht Study participants, a more adverse glucose metabolism status was linked with a lower z score of corneal nerve fiber measures compared with a normal status (-0.14, 95% CI -0.25 to -0.04, P for trend=0.001), reported Sara Mokhtar, a PhD student at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleaguesThis corneal nerve damage was seen even in those with prediabetes (-0.08, 95% CI -0.17 to 0.03), they noted at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes(EASD) meeting.

“That implies that the corneal nerve damage is a process that starts before the onset of type 2 diabetes,” Mokhtar said during her presentation.

We can only hope, for the sake of epidemic-sized populations of American adults and children increasingly trapped in compulsive use of nicotine by vaping or cigarette smoking, that new findings like this will warrant more attention and action on prevention and treatment for use of nicotine – a substance directly linked to risk of prediabetes

Is it time now? 

Teen vaping rates are rising once again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday — a signal that as kids have returned to school, so has their use of e-cigarettes.

Data from the annual National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students said they’d recently used an e-cigarette or other vape. The survey, led by both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, was conducted from January through the end of May.

The vast majority of surveyed youth, 84.5%, said they used flavored e-cigarettes, most often in fruity or other sweet flavors.

Linda Neff, chief of the epidemiology branch in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said the new numbers show that in 2022, 2.55 million middle and high school students in the United States reporting vaping.

“These numbers confirm that the e-cigarette epidemic in our country is far from over,” Neff said. “Our work is far from done.”

“What is even more disturbing is the frequency of use,” she added. “Among those who currently use e-cigarettes, more than 1 in 4 use them daily.”

Frequent use was even greater among high school students. Forty-six percent of older teens said they vaped nearly every day.

It wasn’t yet time 4 years ago,

when direct links from nicotine to diabetes incidence were highlighted and made known in the context of precipitous increases in delivery of nicotine by e-cigarettes (vaping) by adults and youth. 

Or six months ago, when vaping by adults was linked to increased risk of prediabetes

Or in March of this year when a doubling of youth prediabetes was publicized, over a period of surging vaping of nicotine by youth. 

Or a month later, when it became clear that those increases cannot be attributed to childhood obesity

After all, it’s just prediabetes, right?

Not full-blown Type 2 diabetes. 

It maybe would have been better to pay attention though, in light of the emerging concerns tied to the elevations of blood sugars in prediabetes. 

Including these – 

Prediabetes is an abnormal state of glucose homeostasis in which blood glucose levels are elevated above the range of normal but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. A staggering 28% of U.S. youth ages 12 to 19 years are living with prediabetes. This number more than doubled from 1999 to 2018.

. . .  There is increasing evidence to support that even before its progression to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes independently is a toxic metabolic state causing an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. It is important to note that pediatric type 2 diabetes is a significantly different disease from adult type 2 diabetes in that it has a very aggressive course that leads to rapid beta cell failure and insulin dependence.

There are evidence-based therapies and longstanding support for effective family and child interventions for prevention and treatment. It may be time to allocate more resources to them.

And time to protect vulnerable kids and adults against the same forces diverting those resources and driving increasingly lethal epidemics of substance use, depression and other mental health public health threats.

Why A Critical Discourse?

Because an uncontrolled epidemic of desperate and deadly use of pain-numbing opioid drugs is just the most visible of America’s lethal crises of drug misuse, suicide, depression, of obesity and sickness, of social illness. Because the matrix of health experts and institutions constructed and identified by mass media as trusted authorities – publicly funded and entrusted to protect public health – instead collude to fabricate false assurances like those that created an opioid crisis, while promising medical cures that never come and can never come, while epidemics worsen. Because the “journalists” responsible for protecting public well-being have failed to fight for truth, traded that duty away for their careers, their abdication and cowardice rewarded daily in corporate news offices, attempts to expose that failure and their fabrications punished.

Open, critical examination, exposure, and deconstruction of their lethal matrix of fabrications is a matter of survival, is cure for mass illness and crisis, demands of us a critical discourse.

Crisis is a necessary condition for a questioning of doxa, but is not in itself a sufficient condition for the production of a critical discourse.

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