Incidentally, in India, Children’s Day coincides with the World Diabetes Day. And this coincidence gains more significance when the reports of Indian children being diagnosed with diabetes, are adding up at an alarming rate. This rise in the number of Type 2 Diabetes cases has pushed the panic buttons in families, health organizations, and the nation.

There has been a paradigm shift in the lifestyle at both, urban and rural settings, during last couple of decades. This change has brought in consumption of high calorie diet and junk food, lesser physical and limited outdoor activities resulting in the increase of the waistline of the individuals in general, and children in particular. Such a dual epidemic of increasing obesity and blood sugar levels prompted the experts to come up with a combo word – diabesity owing to the occurrence of both diabetes and obesity among the children. The World Health Organization has described the situation as ‘exploding nightmare.’

An adult when suffers from diabetes is prone to a number of health related complications including damage to large and small blood vessels increasing the probabilities of heart attack and stroke. Similarly adverse effect on the kidneys, eyes, feet and nerves are also anticipated. When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, the prognosis is precariously critical.

Children with diabetes normally show;

  • Abnormal weight loss or gain
  • Increase in thirst and frequency of urination
  • Increase in tiredness and fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Delayed healing of wounds

Though the attending physicians have been alerting and advising against the sedentary lifestyle among children, but it is the responsibility of individuals, parents, guardians to attend to their wards for their health and well-being.

Here are some of the guidelines to prevent diabetes, especially in the children;

  • Providing a well-balanced diet including whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables along with low fat dairy products
  • Physical activity on regular and daily basis
  • Keeping a watch on and maintenance of healthy weight
  • Following the healthy lifestyle in a disciplined manner
  • Going for regular health check-ups

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar) level either due to inadequate insulin production or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin or both. The term “Diabetes Mellitus” describes a metabolic disorder of multiple aetiology characterized by chronic hyperglycemia with disturbances of carbohydrate, fat (dyslipidaemia), and protein metabolism resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. The main symptoms are: –

  1. Polyuria (frequent urination)
  2. Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  3. Polyphagia (increased hunger)

The main types of diabetes are:

Type 1 diabetes: It is due to the body’s malfunction to produce insulin in the body, and requires the person to inject insulin. This form was previously referred to as “Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus” (IDDM) or “Juvenile Diabetes”.

Type 2 diabetes: It is due to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented after following healthy life style such as healthy diet, proper exercise or maintaining healthy weight.

The third main form, Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. It may lead to type 2 DM.

Other types of diabetes include those caused by:

  • Genetic defects of the beta cells, (the part of the pancreas that makes insulin) such as maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) or neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM)
  • Diseases of the pancreas or conditions that damage the pancreas, such as pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis
  • Excess amounts of certain hormones resulting from some medical conditions such as cortisol in Cushing’s syndrome that work against the action of insulin
  • Medications that reduce insulin action, such as glucocorticoids, or chemicals that destroy beta cells

Further Reading:


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