World diabetes day and Children

A disease that occurs when our blood sugar (blood glucose ) is too high is known as diabetes. Frequent urination, increased thirst,fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss and slow-healing cuts and wounds are the symptoms of diabetics.An estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. It is marked every year on 14th November.World Diabetes Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition. The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to be the platform to promote IDF advocacy efforts throughout the year, a global driver to promote the importance of taking coordinated and concerted action to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.

This day is so relevant now as it is time when the world continues to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only resulted in a high proportion of people with diabetes among hospitalized patients with severe manifestations of COVID-19 and among those who have succumbed to the virus but has also led to severe disruption of diabetes services.

Every year, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is Access to Diabetes Care – If Not Now, When?.100 years after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes around the world cannot access the care they need. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.

The major causes of diabetes are blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation. A healthy diet, physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition, diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening, and treatment for complications.

On the occasion of World Health Day 2016, WHO issues a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. This dramatic rise is largely due to the rise in type 2 diabetes and factors driving it to include overweight and obesity. In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes. It encourages us all as individuals to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain.

Diabetes is rare in children under five but it is serious if young children develop it. As we all know, it is a potentially life-threatening condition which leads to high level of glucose in the blood.  Glucose is controlled by the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Diabetes develop when the pancreas doesn’t work properly, or when the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Among the different type of diabetes, the most common in children are juvenile diabetes or type I diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It is a lifelong condition that must be managed with regular injections of insulin.

If your children are being very thirsty, hungry, urinating more, feeling tired and weak all the time, losing weight without any explanation, having blurred vision or other problems with eyesight, yeast infection, fruity-smelling breath and being irritable restless or moody, consult a doctor. It is very important to treat diabetes as it can lead to serious problems over time such as heart disease or damage to the kidneys, nerves, eyes, and skin.

Diabetes increases your child’s risk of developing conditions such as narrowed blood vessels, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke later in life. Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels that nourish your child’s nerves. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain. Nerve damage usually happens gradually over a long period of time. It can damage the numerous tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your child’s blood. It can also damage the blood vessels of the retina, which may lead to vision problems. It may lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing your child’s risk of osteoporosis as an adult.

We can prevent diabetes in children by getting more active like playing in the park daily, proper diet and managing weight, cut back on sugar, consuming healthy snacks and limiting screen time. Helping your child maintain good blood sugar control as much as possible. Teaching your child the importance of eating a healthy diet and participating in regular physical activity.Scheduling regular visits with your child’s diabetes doctor and a yearly eye exam beginning no more than five years after the initial diabetes diagnosis or by age 10.

Adithya Mohan


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