Time to be in Combat Mode Against Child Diabetess
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08 September 2011
Doctors Say Even Routine Viral Fever Can Cause Diabetes In Kids
Eight–year–old Samar (name changed) had viral fever in July this year. A week after the viral infection was cured, Samar started complaining of pain while passing urine. He also lost considerable weight in 8–10 days. When tests were conducted, doctors found a high level of sugar in his blood. Samar, a student of class II, is now diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Samar is just one case, where a school–going child is identified with Type 1 diabetes. But according to an estimate, worldwide, there are over 4.40 lakh children under the age of 2 to 15 suffering from this disease. Childhood diabetes has a high mortality rate in developing countries.
A study says that many children with Type 1 diabetes die because of lack of diagnostic facilities as symptoms of diabetes in children resemble symptoms of common acute medical conditions encountered in many least developed countries.
“Most of the time, a routine viral fever or any other type of infection can be a cause of Type 1 diabetes in children. It is an auto–immune disease which affects the pancreas and if one fails to identify the early symptoms, the blood sugar rises to an uncontrollable level,” said Dr Prasanna Kumar, a diabetologist and endocrinologist.
Paediatrician Dr Yashodadevi said that Type 1 is one of the most common patterns of diabetes that affects children. “This is usually caused due to failure in functioning of the pancreatic beta cell and possibly due to an autoimmune destruction.Basically,diabetes is a hereditary disease. Patients (children) suffering from this disease can also fall into coma,” she said.
She said these patients have problems like frequent urinating, drinking lot of water (they are forever thirsty), overeating and still losing weight. “Males and females are equally prone to this disease, but parents of obese children are advised to take their child for a diabetes test. This is a life–long disease, children are continuously on insulin, which is very painful,’’ said Dr Yashodadevi.
Dr Somashekhar Reddy, endocrinologist, said: “Nowadays, the major worry is about children suffering with Type 2 diabetes (one suffered by adults, where patient has to take regular dosage of insulin). This type of diabetes is related to lifestyle, stress of education, consumption of fast food and soft drinks and obesity. At present, less than 1% children in Bangalore are suffering from Type 2 diabetes, but it can be a major cause of concern in future.”
There is no scientific evidence that certain diet habits can lead to diabetes. Children suffering from diabetes usually are not put on diet restriction because they are growing and also are on insulin. In an attempt to address this critical gap in management of diabetes, a pharmaceutical company launched a pan–India diabetes programme — Changing diabetes in children (CdiC) — to give children below the poverty line access to comprehensive diabetes care and management.
Former President Abdul Kalam launched the programme on Wednesday, in the presence of children with Type 1 diabetes. “I want to assure parents that diabetes is not a disease but a disorder, which can be corrected with a disciplined lifestyle,” Kalam said.
LIVING WITH IT CHEERFULLY
At first look, Adarshkumar H N looks like any college–going teenager. Except that he takes three shots of insulin every day. “When I was 13, I had typhoid and was later diagnosed with diabetes. My life is no different from other children. I can play and enjoy all activities. Just that I have to lead a disciplined life,” said Adarsh, who scored 93% in class 10 last year.
No sweets and chocolates for Hamsini B R but she is a cheerful girl. The class 10 student has been taking two shots of insulin every day. “I got to know I was a diabetic in April 2005 when I had high fever and was hospitalised. I play kabaddi, kho–kho, throwball and badminton and enjoy life to the fullest. Just one compromise — go slow on chocolates and sweets,” she pointed out.
When the eight–year–old started urinating frequently, her parents were worried. She then began overeating too. Worried, her parents took her to the doctor only to be told that their little one was a diabetic. Kasturi A V (11), the student of a government school who takes two insulin shots daily is leading a normal life. “I would eat chocolates every day but now the doctor has told me not to.’’
DIABETIC EDUCATOR Shuchy Chugh, 33, was just 11 when she first came to know that she was a diabetic. Today, she educates the children and their families about this disease. “When parents or children first come to know about it, they are shocked. So one needs to counsel them to accept the situation and handle life with diabetes.’’