Bengaluru: The city is seeing a worrying increase in diabetes among children with some doctors reporting seeing seven to eight cases of type 1 diabetes among children below 12 in the last four months alone.
Says Dr. Manjunath Mallige, consultant endocrinologist with Fortis Hospitals, “Cases of diabetes among children are increasing significantly. We are seeing several cases of children suffering from Type 1 diabetes of late.”
The doctor recently put a 10-year-old girl suffering from type 1 diabetes on diabetes pump therapy, which uses insulin pumps to replace insulin injections. A pager like device with two patches attached to it, it can be clipped onto a belt loop while the patches are placed on the stomach. The device controls the amount of insulin pumped into the body throughout the day and has to be worn 24x7. It is painless and an effective alternative to injections, especially for young children for whom it’s not safe to go to school with injections in a box, the doctor explains.
“Diabetes pump therapy is not commonly used, but this 10-year-old girl was too young to inject insulin into her body and manage her diabetes,” he adds. “The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly destroys insulin producing islet cells in the pancreas. While genetic and environmental factors play a role, risk factors include family history with either parents or siblings with type 1 diabetes,” says Dr Shylaja Shyamsunder, consultant, internal medicine, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals.
Dr. Anjana Hulse, paediatric endocrinologist, explains that children are thrice as likely to develop diabetes if their father has diabetes rather than their mother. “ Parents must be aware that children with diabetes have diet restrictions, and that their activity levels need close monitoring,” she emphasises.
Dr Girish Navasundi, senior consultant cardiologist, Apollo Hospitals, warns that diabetes dramatically increases the child's risk of developing conditions such as coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of the arteries, and high blood pressure later in life.