Once considered an illness only among adults, there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents during the past decade, according to healthcare experts.
‘Around the world type 2 diabetes, a disease that was previously seen only in older adults is now being diagnosed in youngsters. There were no registered cases of type 2 diabetes and Qatar prior to 2008. In recent years more cases are being seen and treated, said Dr Monica Skarulis, Deputy Director, Qatar Metabolic Institute of Hamad Medical Corporation addressing a press conference.
‘In Qatar the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children is 2.7 cases per 100,000 children and it is an increase seen over the years. But comparatively prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children is less in Qatar than countries like the US (9 cases 100,000 children), said Skarulis.
‘Being overweight and obesity are major drivers for metabolic diseases like diabetes. Children are not spared from adults problems such as high blood sugar, blood pressure, fatty liver, joint problems, said Dr Skarulis.
She also highlighted that 36 percent women at reproductive age are obese and 25 percent are overweight. Also gestational diabetes rate is 23.5 percent in 2018.
‘Risk factors for increase in childhood diabetes include generic reasons, health of the mother and lifestyle of the child. If the mother has gestational diabetes, children will have 50 percent risk of developing diabetes, said Dr Skarulis.
‘Current obesity trends predict that the rates will continue to rise. Our diabetic youth are at risk now for many diabetes complications including kidney heart and disease., she added speaking at the press conference held to announce about Sidra Medicine’s third ‘Current Understanding on Diabetes, Obesity, and Related Syndromes,’ (CUDOS) symposium.
Rising rates of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus in children have led to increased cardiovascular disease risks during childhood. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels. The longer people have diabetes, the higher the chances they have of developing heart disease, said Prof. Ziyad M. Hijazi, Executive Chair of Pediatric Medicine at Sidra Medicine and Co-Chair of CUDOS 2019.
Recent research has highlighted that people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die of heart disease or have a stroke than people who don’t have the condition. ‘We are seeing an increased number of diabetes cases in children in Qatar over the last five years. As these children grow up and possibly develop complications from diabetes, so too will the risks of getting cardiovascular diseases, said Dr Hijazi.
CUDOS 2019 symposium will highlight Sidra Medicine’s major findings in precision medicine for the care and treatment of children with diabetes.
‘At Sidra Medicine, we follow our young patient’s diabetes journey so that we can introduce the right interventional measures. Particularly, measures to control the diabetes in the children so that the side effects can be minimized or prevented. This is where the concept of precision medicine comes in, said Dr Hijazi.
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