A large number of children in Karnataka is being affected by Type-1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), according to experts.
According to a report published by the National Centre of Biotechnology Information, a part of United States National Library of Medicine, Karnataka is one of the top states where ‘Type-1 diabetes’, (affecting the pancreas) is prevalent. According to it, 17.3 in one lakh children in Karnataka are affected.
“Incidence of Type-1 diabetes was very low earlier, but it is rising now. New cases of the disease are coming up,” said Dr M A Shekhar, director, Karnataka Institute of Endocrinology and Research.
The doctor added, “I used to see Type-1 diabetes once in three months earlier, but now, I see it every other day. That itself is an eyeball assessment of the alarming rise.”
Dr Paramesh Shamanna, director of Bangalore Diabetes Centre said there a rise in Type-2 diabetes (blood sugar levels) too among children.
Type-1 diabetes is a kind of diabetes that is mostly diagnosed in children up to the age of 15 where the body does not produce insulin, while Type-2 diabetes is a condition in adults where the body produces insulin but not in sufficient quantity for the body.
“Type-2 diabetes can be cured by change in lifestyle and food habits, while Type-1 diabetes can be controlled only by injecting insulin two to four times a day,” said
Dr Manjunath Malige, consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist.
According to doctors, Type-1 diabetes, which affects children, is predominantly due to viral infections that develop antibodies that are capable of destroying cells. This type of diabetes affects children also due to reduced breast feeding when the child is born and exposure to cow’s milk which can produce antibodies that react with insulin. The incidence of such diabetes can be brought down to a certain extent if infections affecting children can be curbed. Doctors say that pollution is a reason for infection.
“The psychological trauma the child and its parents have to go through is massive during treatment. A six-year-old, affected by the disease, cannot take insulin on its own,” said Dr Shekhar.
Experts say the symptoms of Type-1 diabetes are excessive thirst, excess passage of urine and weight loss in children.
According to experts, if Type-1 diabetes is not controlled, the patient might have multiple organ failure including kidney dysfunction.
Parents and teachers should be educated on how to manage Type-1 diabetes, doctors say.