Diabetic kids can lead normal lives, say docs

Seven-year-old Rohan, a resident of Ejipura, gets headache many times a day. This, his mother says, makes it impossible for him to study properly. “Due to the constant headaches, I can’t study at a stretch. In fact, playing outside is also very difficult,” he says.

Rohan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago and since then, his life has undergone a complete change. He was one of the many children who participated at a workshop and fun-day organised by the Karnataka Institute of Diabetology (KID) for children suffering from Type 1 diabetes, on Sunday. Usually diagnosed in children and young adults, this type of diabetes has earned the tag of juvenile diabetes. The body does not produce insulin, leading to increased blood and urine glucose. The symptoms include frequent urination, increased feeling of thirst, constant hunger and weight loss. Eventually, type 1 diabetes is fatal, unless treated with insulin.

Dr O S Santosh, diabetologist, said, “Sugar acts like a fuel for the body. The body utilises this in the correct way and then sends the required amount to the brain. If the sugar stays in the blood, then the brain doesn’t get the proper amount. This leads to frequent headaches which is the most common complaint among children suffering from this.”
Most of the parents and the children at the event had doubts ranging from diet to the storage of insulin. Gangabai, 12, was one of the many who did not have a refrigerator and did not know the alternative way to store insulin. To this, Dr Santosh said, “Insulin can be kept in a pot of water. For it to last three months, insulin needs to be kept at 2.8 degree Celsius.”

KID director Narasimha Shetty said the workshop threw light on the growing number of such cases. “It is a way to educate families of children with Type-I diabetes on ways to cope with the condition and lead a healthy life. It is also a platform for the families to interact with one another.”

According to International Diabetes Federation, there are over 61 million (6.1 crore) patients of diabetes in India and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) says that there are about a million (one lakh) children with Type I diabetes in the country. Dr H S Aditya said that in many youngsters and children, diabetes causes severe psychological problems too.

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