Ghaziabad, Nov 14 IANS | 2 years ago

Many people think diabetes affects only adults, especially the middle aged. It can, therefore, be disconcerting for parents to find out that their child is suffering from diabetes, an expert said Thursday on the occasion of World Diabetes Day.

"The fact is that about 10 lakh children live with Type I diabetes in India, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)," said Ashish Sharma, a doctor in internal medicine at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Ghaziabad.

Type 1 diabetes in children implies that insulin is no longer produced in their bodies and they need external insulin supplement to manage this ailment.

Also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, it may redefine the life of a child who will now need periodic monitoring of blood sugar levels and its management, the doctor said.

Juvenile diabetes is largely believed to be a genetic issue. However, some environmental factors could aggravate the problem, Sharma said.

Rapidly changing lifestyles with improper dietary habits with excess consumption of calories, simple sugars, saturated fats and less fibre, and reduced physical activity may be among the contributing factors.

He said it was hence crucial that awareness is required, if we want our future generations to lead their lives in a diabetes-controlled environment.

"In a country like India where many do not have access to healthcare and most people are unaware of the fact that diabetes can affect children, they may often go undiagnosed till they are too ill," he said.

"Even the onset of the ailment is slow and parents may often confuse the symptoms for something else or overlook them. It is hence important to generate awareness among people about how to monitor the health of their children," said Sharma.

(Posted on 14-11-2013)