March 19, 2019
Did you know that juvenile diabetes is not only a genetic problem, but is also caused by environmental factors? This awareness is crucial to take measures to stop the dreaded disease among children.
Lifestyle is a big contributor to the development of diabetes. Not having a regular diet, high consumption of calories, sugar, fats, less fibre and the absence of exercise are crucial factors that lead to the emergence of diabetes.
It is not a disease that affects only adults as is widely believed. Parents may not even know that their children could be afflicted by diabetes. Just one fact by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) shows that the disease is widespread among children in India: Nearly 10 lakh children are afflicted with Type 1 diabetes in the country.
What is the Type 1 diabetes? It is a situation in which insulin is not produced within their bodies and would have to be supplied from outside to manage the disease. This may necessitate regular monitoring of blood sugar and insulin in children as this is insulin-dependent diabetes. In case, environmental factors are controlled, then it would be possible to manage diabetes even among children on a daily basis, though eliminating it completely may be difficult. Care should be regular and consistent.
What is crucial about the highly stressed-out lifestyle is that it might put children in danger of developing Type 2 diabetes. Care should be taken to ensure that the lifestyle of adults is not repeated in their children.
It is pertinent to note that diabetes among children may go completely unnoticed until the disease takes a serious turn. This is especially true in India where health awareness is low. It is quite possible that the symptoms may not be recognized by the parents who may believe that it is a minor affair and not as serious as diabetes. This prompts the adults to overlook the onset of the disease. It then becomes vital to create awareness on the symptoms of the disease and how each symptom should be recognized for what it is.
Educational awareness on the ailment and its symptoms is a must, especially in cases where there has been a history of family members having diabetes. Some symptoms that parents have to look out for include repeated thirst and urination, sudden reduction in weight and excessive laziness. A doctor should be informed about these symptoms and counter measures have to be taken in accordance with the doctor’s prescriptions and instructions. Ignoring these symptoms will prove costly as there could be an onset of Type 2 diabetes.
While Type 1 is common, Type 2 diabetes too can be seen among children who are particularly obese. Here too, blood sugar will have to be monitored regularly and children would need to be told to take up physical fitness programs or exercises to keep the disease in check. In particular, parents have to ensure that children don’t become obese. One vital decision they can take for their children is to avoid consumption of junk food, which gives rise to and increases obesity. If the family itself is doing things to stay healthy, it would be a good model for children to emulate.
A good strategy has to be developed to ensure that children follow health-conscious parents in their daily habits and routine and in the type of food they consume. This is crucial because children imitate parents and other adults around them in their young age. Nothing like healthy parents and children. Longevity will be a positive result of a healthy-regimen in the family.
While parents are the immediate group that children imitate, teachers and school nurses too influence children. It would be ideal to train school teachers and other staff in recognizing obesity signs and other signs that could lead to diabetes. Parents have to inform the school that their children are showing some signs of the ailment and request them to take steps to ensure that the ailment does not intensify.
Emergency situations are common, and in case, a child has low blood sugar, the child must be immediately given a little bit of sugar, glucose or any of the soft drinks, but not in excessive quantities. This has to be taken up till a doctor comes on the scene and recommends a serious line of treatment.
In conclusion, it has to be said that health-conscious parents, relatives, teachers and friends and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring that children are not trapped by the dreaded diabetes.