As per the WHO, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030 and is responsible for kidney failure, amputation and blindness worldwidei. As per the WHO, people with diabetes in India doubled from 32 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2013 and this number is projected to increase to 101.2 million in the next 15 yearsii. New cases of diabetes among younger age groups are rising, especially among children and adolescents. Different types of diabetes may occur in children, which need special care and attention from parents and school staff:
1) Type 1 Diabetes (auto-immune condition):
- Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition, which means the body’s own immune cells attack the pancreas which produces insulin. Hence the body gradually becomes deficient in insulin. Insulin is a very important hormone which helps to break down the glucose into energy. When the body is deficient in insulin then the body derives its energy from the fats, which produces a by-product called ketones. This ketones and the high blood sugar in the body cause a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis which is very dangerous and life-threatening if left untreated.
- Parents should look out for signs to diagnose diabetes early. A diabetic child may have excessive urination, thirst, hunger, weight loss, tiredness, weakness, frequent stomach aches, bedwetting in case of younger children, crankiness, irritability and disinterest in hobbies anymore. These signs and symptoms should prompt the parents to test their child for diabetes and visit a specialist.
- Insulin is the only treatment in Type 1 Diabetes patient and this can be given through syringes, insulin pens or a novel device called insulin pump. This pump is a small pager-like device and is often called an artificial pancreas as it delivers insulin to the body like the pancreas.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) is one of the major acute complications and should be managed immediately.
2) Type 2 Diabetes (due to obesity) :
- Increasing cases of obesity has been seen among school children due to rising intake of calorie-rich food (junk food) and sugar-sweetened beverages. This has mostly been seen in public schools. according to our previous research, which showed almost 25-30% of school children as being overweight/obese. While most of them will remain obese as adults also, some of them will develop adult onset diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes) in their teenage.
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