Five-year-old Krati Dhawan often complained of abdominal pain and saw sudden weight loss. She underwent a series of tests for stomach infection, all with negative results. When her mother reported that she was urinating frequently and was often thirsty, she was advised to get blood-sugar tests conducted which confirmed type 1 diabetes. She was immediately put on insulin - which if delayed could have pushed her into coma. This scenario has become more common than what it was previously. An increasing number of children are developing diabetes, with up to 90 percent of all childhood diabetes being type 1, where children are dependent on insulin for survival. Type-1 diabetes occurs when the immune system destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas which results in a complete deficiency of the hormone. Insulin allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates in the food that you eat. Therefore, the lack of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels. According to Paediatric Adolescent Endocrinologist and Diabetologist I.P.S Kochar, "Most children with type 1 diabetes are not diagnosed on time. The awareness levels about the disease are not as high as they should be, a common assumption being that diabetes affects adults and not children."Richa Chaturvedi, Diabetologist and Endocrinologist at Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, states the reasons for the rise in the incidence childhood diabetes, "A high calorie diet, junk food, inactivity, less outdoor games and more of indoor games are few reasons. 68% urban children don't exercise regularly. Obesity is also a common factor. Nearly 9% of adolescents between the age of 9 and 18 have more abdominal fat."(Obesity Related to High Blood Pressure & Diabetes in Kids)
Around 70,000 children under the age of 15 suffer from type 1 diabetes. Another 40,000 have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and this figure is growing by five percent each year. While type 1 is an autoimmune disease where children are dependent on insulin for survival, type 2 is due to insulin resistance and is seen in obese children with a family history of diabetes. (Kids Who Skip Breakfast Risk Diabetes)Manoj Chadha, Consultant Endocrinologist at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai, states few symptoms that one should pay heed to, "Excessive urine, thirst and hunger, unexplained weight loss and fatigue are some of the common symptoms. All of these occur due to insulin deficiency."According to the Diabetes Foundation of India, about 50.9 million people in India suffer from diabetes, and this figure is likely to go up to 80 million by 2025, making it the 'Diabetes Capital' of the world. Anup Misra, Chairman of the Fortis Centre of Excellence for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, adds, "Diabetes is beginning to appear much earlier in life in India. This means that chronic long-term complications are becoming more common. There is a 100 percent rise in diabetes in the age group of 20-40 years." (How to Manage Diabetes)Type 1 diabetes can be managed if detected early which is why health experts call for greater awareness about the disease. Even small steps like avoiding too much junk food, weight management and indulging in physical activities can lead to big results.
For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and YouTube.