World Diabetes Day

by Savitha C Muppala on  November 13, 2007 at 11:52 AM Health In Focus
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November 14, 2007

World Diabetes Day falls on November 14, 2007 and the theme for this year has a focus on diabetes in children - 'No Child Should Die of Diabetes'
World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day

The current theme is intended to step up awareness about child diabetes, its diagnosis and treatment

Bitter Statistics

• 240 million diabetics in the world
• A new diabetic enters the pitch every 21 seconds
• 50% of diabetics are ignorant of their condition.
• Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, blindness and loss of limbs due to amputation in adults.
• Children are not spared; globally, 200 children a day are given the 'juvenile diabetic' verdict.
• Diabetes escalates at an annual rate of 3% in children and adolescents
• India is the Diabetic Capital of the World with 40.9 million diabetics
• China, Russia, and United States portray worrying trends in diabetes

From a Carefree Life to a Life of Care

When diabetes catches them young, it lays siege on the best part of childhood and growing up years. Indeed a chronic disease, it can manifest at any stage in childhood. Even toddlers could come down with the condition. Child diabetes, popularly called as Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1 diabetes is often misdiagnosed, diagnosed late or completely escapes detection.

The crux of the campaign is to increase the awareness about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents with an emphasis on timely diagnosis. Timely diagnosis and early treatment can reduce associated complications and can save many lives.

Juvenile Diabetes - Understanding the Condition

Juvenile diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects the functioning of beta cells. When this occurs, the pancreas fail to produce adequate insulin demanded by the body. A shortage of insulin leads to inadequate breakdown of sugars.This , in turn results in an accumulation of sugar in the blood stream leading to diabetes.

Improper diet, inadequate exercise, genetic factors and environment play a significant role in triggering the condition. The symptoms appear without an announcement and can often go unnoticed.

Watch Out For the Following Symptoms

• Increased urination
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger
• Fever or other minor infections
• Bedwetting
• Weight loss
• Fatigue

There are a number of tests which will be advised by the medical specialist to assist in the diagnosis.

1. Urine test to detect glucose
2. Blood test to ascertain the amount of glucose present in the blood
3. Glucose-tolerance test
4. Fasting blood sugar


Sadly, Juvenile diabetes has no cure. Management of diabetes is possible only with insulin injections. Daily monitoring of blood sugar at regular intervals in a day, proper diet and adequate exercise is sacrosanct to the treatment of juvenile diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes, also known as Non Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus or Adult-onset Diabetes, manifests in middle age. In Type 2 diabetes the body is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces.

It is estimated that close to 90% of diabetics fall under this category of illness. More than 75% of the time the causative factors for adult onset diabetes is lifestyle related, with obesity playing a significant role.

Risk of Type 2 Diabetes is pronounced in the presence of any or all of the factors - family history of diabetes, obesity, and gestational diabetes. Age, improper diet, obesity, stress, sedentary lifestyle are important triggers for diabetes. Hypertension is also being linked to elevated blood sugar levels. These days childhood obesity is inducing Type II diabetes in children too.

Existing Challenges

Parents are crestfallen when the child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. To make things worse, many families are unaware about care of a diabetic child. Daunting and demanding as it may be, the family plays a crucial role in helping the child cope with the condition. Adequate care for the child may make all the difference between life and death for the young victim.

It is here that a well-honed support system can assist parents and families in the care of the diabetic child. Not withstanding the condition, the child could still grow with least repercussions on long term health, provided the quality of care is superior.

In the developing nations, insulin, which is life-saving for child diabetics, is hard to get. Most of the time insulin is in short supply. This is truly sad because many children do not survive the disease as a result of inadequate insulin. Along with insulin, juvenile diabetics need to adopt a healthy diet, maintaining a fine balance between diet and exercise.

At the end of the day, Type 2 Diabetes is preventable 80% of the time. The simple formula worth its weight in gold to keep Type 2 diabetes at Bay is - 'Eat healthy and Exercise well'. Begin Today!

Source: Medindia

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