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Bahrain - Diabetes rising among children

Discussion in 'The Middle East' started by Ellen, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005

    Diabetes rising among children


    THE number of children being born in Bahrain with insulin dependent diabetes (type-one) has almost tripled in the last 15 years.

    In 1993 the prevalence of type-one insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus in Bahrain was seven per 100,000 live births, but now it is 20 per 100,000 newborns, said Bahrain Diabetes Society vice-president Dr Mariam Hermas.

    "We think the increase is genetic, but it is also related to diet and environmental factors," she told the GDN.

    "About 1,000 children in Bahrain have insulin dependent diabetes and every year there are 40 newly diagnosed patients.

    "At the beginning it is a disaster for the family because they have to check their child's blood sugar levels four to six times a day, which means they must wake them up early.

    "The family is afraid to let their children go outside the home for one night because they are worried they might develop hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), or hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)."

    Dr Hermas said there were no clear figures for the amount of children suffering with non-insulin dependent diabetes (type-two) but about one to two new cases were registered in Bahrain every week.

    Although they are not insulin dependent they have to be taught how to reduce their weight and eat healthily, she said.

    "Before we only saw type-two diabetes in adults but now more and more children are being affected because of their lifestyles - they aren't active enough and have unhealthy diets," she said.

    Dr Hermas said the society's primary aim was to educate children and adults with diabetes how to manage their condition and avoid other health complications.

    One of the society's education awareness activities is an annual camp for children.

    The 10th annual camp for children with diabetes will be held at the National Guard Camp in Sakhir, from March 7 to 9.

    A total of 25 males, aged from seven to 15, and 38 females, aged from seven to 21, from Bahrain and Qatar are participating in the camp.

    The camp will be co-ordinated by a team of volunteers that include older children with diabetes, nursing staff, dieticians, doctors and nursing students.

    This year the camp is supported by the Social Development Ministry.

    "We teach children how to check their blood sugar, inject themselves and to follow a healthy diet and exercise," said Dr Hermas.

    "It's an educational camp but they also have fun, play games and there are lots of competitions. The aim is teach children how they can take responsibility for their condition.

    "If you don't educate them how to control their blood sugar they will develop heart, kidney and eye problems."

    She said the society's aim was to reach all diabetic children, but because the numbers were increasing it had only reached about half of them over the last 10 years.

    "At the camp we teach them how to live peacefully with their condition and how to control their blood sugar," said Dr Hermas.

    "We give children coupons for snacks and they decide what foods they take - healthy or unhealthy - and then we teach them how to make a healthy choice." becky@gdn.com.bh

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