Friday, 14 November 2008

World Diabetes Day: Lifestyle Changes Make Children Diabetic

World Diabetes Day -- November 14

November 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 14: Today is the World Diabetes Day. This year the World Health Organisation lays emphasis on childhood diabetes, which is becoming a major health hazard, both in developed and developing countries. India continues to occupy one of the top few slots in the world diabetes map, with fast changing lifestyles of Indians throwing up new cases almost every day.
What's horrifying is that even Indians living abroad are more prone to
diabetes than the native populations.
Since diabetes cannot be prevented and continues to afflict a person throughout his or her life, once affected, the World Health Organisation has sounded alarming bells on childhood diabetes. According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare statistics, the incidence of childhood diabetes has been steadily going up in the country. And the reasons are quite obvious: childhood obesity and increasing sedentary lifestyles even in young populations. Within the country Hyderabad ranks No.1 in diabetes, both adult and childhood, according to recent research findings.
The World Diabetes Day is observed as a mark of homage to Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best discovered insulin in 1922. Frederick's birth anniversary falls on November 14. Insulin has been saving millions of lives world over every year.
There are 180 million diabetic patients in the world, as per WHO estimates, and of them 41 million are Indians. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 if no medical interventions were made at government or individual level. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries including India.
When it comes to diabetes in children, as many as five lakh children under the age of 15 are affected by Type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin injections. And the list has been going up by 70,000 new cases added to it every year. In India too, childhood diabetes has been increasing at a rate of three per cent per year. But the disease is spreading faster in schoolchildren at a rate of five per cent per year.
"Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by enabling individuals to lose seven to 10 per cent of their body weight, and by increasing their physical activity to a modest level. Regular exercise will also help a lot," says health expert Dr T Srinivasa Sarma.
Children with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar regularly to help control their diabetes, he suggesting.
A study by International Diabetes Federation projects 11 per cent of India's urban population and three per cent of rural populace as high risk groups.
"This mainly because of their sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity,
obesity, stress and consumption of diets rich in fat, sugar and high calories.
The most prevalent is Type 2 diabetes, which constitutes 95 per cent of the diabetic population in the country," points out Dr Jana Jayaprakashsai, senior diabetologist.
The economic burden of diabetes management on a family is quite high and many families do not afford the treatment cost. Overall, direct health care costs of diabetes range from 2.5 per cent to 15 per cent of annual health care budgets. As per WHO estimates, the costs of lost production may be as much as five times the direct health care cost.
"Because of its chronic nature, the severity of its complications and the means required to control them, diabetes is a costly disease, not only for affected individuals and their families, but also for the health systems.
Studies in India estimate that, for a low-income Indian family with an adult with diabetes, as much as 25 per cent of family income may be devoted to diabetes care. For families in the USA with a child who has diabetes, the corresponding figure is 10 per cent," points out a WHO release on the eve of World Diabetes Day.
While may diseases limit their damage to a particular part of the body, diabetes has damaging effect on almost every organ including limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys and nervous system. According to diabetologists Dr R Pradeepa and Dr V Mohan, "diabetes is the single most important metabolic disease which can affect nearly every organ system in the body. Some of the diabetes related complications are coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to develop blindness, 17 times more likely to develop kidney disease, 30-40 times more likely to undergo amputation,
two to four times more likely to develop myocardial infarction and twice as
likely to suffer a stroke than non-diabetics.
According to Dr A Ramachandran, who has conducted a study on the incidence of diabetes in India, in urban areas, the prevalence staggers around 15 to 18 per cent. Also, in the rural areas the prevalence has been increasing.
"There's an increase in prevalence of diabetes from 2.2 per cent in 1989 to 6.4 per cent in Southern India. It is increasing in epidemic proportions. As of today, India is the headquarters for diabetes in the world," he added.

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