More children below 10 now have type-two diabetes, finds study

More children below 10 now have type-two diabetes, finds study

FEB 2017:

Children as young as eight, most of them obese and with a family history of diabetes, are being diagnosed for type-two diabetes.


The Madras Diabetes Research Foundation has published case histories of four such patients in the February edition of the Journal of Association of Physicians.


The foundation pooled cases from hospital records over the past three decades, but doctors say they added four more cases from September 2016.

"It is surprising and alarming," said Dr Anjana Mohan of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Speciality Centre."When children develop diabetes, they risk developing complications such as heart, kidney and eye diseases very early in life."


Institutions such as MV Hospital for Diabetes have had sporadic cases of children under 10. But studies have shown that many below 10 are obese and show signs of insulin resistance -when muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to the hormone.


"The body finds it tough to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Many young girls are obese and have excessive hair growth on their face. These are warning signs," said diabetologist Dr Vijay Vishwanathan. "It is important to test them for diabetes at least once a year."


In India, the disorder occurs commonly in people above 40, but was not recorded in children until recently .Doctors report a sudden increase in the disorder among adolescents (15-19), mostly due to obesity caused by un healthy diet and lack of exercise besides a strong family history of diabetes. Studies also suggest the illness advances more rapidly in children compared to adults and they quickly develop complications.


In the 1990s, this was rarely seen in children, with studies showing that one in 1,000 type-2 diabetics in Chennai was a child. In 2009, Dr Mohan, based on statistics from his hospital, revised it to 35 in 1000.


Until 2012, his hospital had 368 diabetics (type 2) under 19 years. Now, of 684 cases, 194 are below 15. "Eight were diagnosed before their 10th birthday. The youngest was seven," he said.