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World Diabetes Day

By Dr. Anju Virmani in Diabetes Educator

Nov 12 , 2021 | 1 min read

14 Nov is World Diabetes Day, and in india, it's Children's Day. So let's talk about diabetes in children. This can be type 1, which is more common, or type 2. Rare forms could be neonatal or secondary diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes usually presents quite dramatically, with excess urination (bed wetting may restart) and thirst, and weight loss in spite of an increased appetite. With better awareness, the diagnosis can be made right at this stage, and insulin started in time. If diagnosis is delayed, the child can develop a very serious condition called diabetes ketoacidosis.

Type 1 diabetes is basically due to deficiency of insulin. Therefore, treatment is insulin only - oral medicines do not work. Long-acting insulin is taken once daily, and short-acting before each meal. The doses are adjusted with frequent or continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGMS). CGMS has dramatically changed type 1 management, because it gives continuous information on blood sugars, rather like driving a car with eyes constantly open, instead of being opened 4-7 times a day. Diabetes education is a crucial part of managing type 1.

A common myth is that many foods are forbidden for the child or adolescent with diabetes. No! He/ she should eat a normal balanced diet - as should all family members! Plenty of vegetables, salads, fruits, low fat milk products, daals, whole grains. Even mangoes and bananas, with care. Excess sugar – sweetened drinks, juices, chocolates, mithai, etc. should be avoided, but these junk foods can be had occasionally, in small portions. Regular active play for over an hour daily is essential to improve sugar control and health.

With proper management and good diabetes control, the child can grow, study, work in many careers, and marry, normally. That is why we say type 1 diabetes is not a disease but a condition. If neglected, it can cause serious health issues. If well managed, life can go on smoothly.

Our country is getting increasingly obese, causing the risk of type 2 diabetes in adolescents to increase, especially post COVID. The risk is higher with family history of type 2 or gestational diabetes. So children must play actively 1-2 hours daily, and eat sensibly as a family, to keep type 2 diabetes away.


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