India faces biggest challenge of fighting juvenile diabetes

World Diabetes Day: Problem spreading like an epidemic

 
The number of children suffering from diabetes has increased by four to five per cent.Compared to 1990 figures, the number of children suffering from diabetes has increased by four to five per cent. However, it is mostly type-1 where in pancreas looses ability to manufacture insulin, required to convert blood sugar into energy for the body, says Dr G B Sattur, a cardiodiabetology specialist.

Rapid urbanisation and economic growth have promoted risk factors for diabetes such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, high fat and high energy diet among adults and children, he says.

Till recently, Indian medical fraternity presumed type-1 and type-2 diabetes among rural children quite uncommon. But, recent researches have proved it wrong.

The number of children suffering from type-1 diabetes in rural areas is more than that in urban areas. Unfortunately, no systematic survey has been conducted so far to know the trends, Dr Setty adds.

Studies show that 17 per cent of Indian children are overweight or obese and are potential candidates for type-2 diabetes.

Excessive calorie intake

The major factor which leads to amplify the rates of obesity in children is excessive calorie intake and a more sedentary lifestyle. The number of children with type-2 diabetes has risen to about 10 per cent of the total number of new diabetic patients.

In India, diabetes is spreading at the rate of 5 per cent per year among schoolchildren. These children are future victims of high blood pressure and heart attack, warns Dr Sattur.

Untreated children and adolescents with type-2 diabetes have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and vision loss.

‘Catch them young’ is the mantra of a new health initiative that targets children and adolescents which aims to raise awareness and check the rapidly increasing cases of obesity and diabetes among them, Dr Sattur adds.

Adverse impact

Dr Suresh S Somannavar of KID says, diabetes among children is spreading like an epidemic. Good number of cases with type-1 and type-2 and cases with pre-diabetic condition go undetected. Impact of diabetes among children on country’s economy will be adverse, as each patient requires between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 per month for medical care and diabetes maintenance.

Mode of management to treat diabetes too is fast changing. Apart from doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists and diabetes educators have come into picture to treat diabetes among adolescents.

“Counselling such adolescents is a real challenge. In fact, we must counsel parents, and mothers in particular, as they will be constantly guarding their children. We should guide them as to how to raise such children and how to mould their tastes and emotions, points out KID psychiatrist Dr S Reddy.

“It’s not avoiding a particular food item, but just reducing intake of certain food items. I have  been educating Sandeep, Sangeetha and Pallavi, all below 15 years suffering from diabetes for the past few months. I have seen positive changes in them. Now they are active, enthusiastic and dream big. This was possible due to counselling and educating them about diabetes,” reveals KID nutritionist and diabetes educator Dr V Shubashini.

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