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Non-obese teens are falling prey to Type 2 diabetes

Published : Nov 14, 2015, 4:01 am IST
Updated : Nov 14, 2015, 4:01 am IST

In the past five years, the number of teenagers falling prey to Type 2 diabetes has increased by 25 per cent due to changing lifestyle and environmental factors.

In the past five years, the number of teenagers falling prey to Type 2 diabetes has increased by 25 per cent due to changing lifestyle and environmental factors. Also, according to the doctors, non-obese children below the age of 15 have also been consulting them for treatment of diabetes.

Sonia Thakkar, a 14-year-old from Vashi, was leading a normal life until she met with an accident while playing at the school ground. Though not grievously wounded, despite immediate and continuous medication, her injury did not show much improvement. This made her parents doubtful and they took her to a hospital. It was only then they got to know that Sonia had Type 2 diabetes.

Previously, Type 2 was mainly diagnosed among patients above 50 years of age. But there has been a shift in the trend and more number of teenagers are getting diagnosed with the condition.

In diabetes Type 1, the pancreas does not make enough insulin while in diabetes 2, which is more dangerous, the body does not respond to insulin.

“The pattern has changed gradually in the past five years. We are getting more number of younger patients below the age group of 15 who are coming in for treatment,” said Dr Manoj Chawla, consultant diabetologist and coordinator, department of diabetology, at Asian Heart Institute and Research Centre.

Initially, it was perceived that only obese children are prone to diabetes but there has also been a change. Hospitals are reportedly getting more teenagers who are non-obese and have perfect body mass index who have tested positive for the condition.

“According to the cases we get at our hospital, we have noticed that non-obese children are also getting Type 2 diabetes. This is mainly because of the changing lifestyle and environmental issues,” Dr Chawla added.

The risk factors of Type 2 diabetes have started being visible among children at an early age. “Nearly, 20-30 per cent of the school-going children from urban Mumbai suffer from pre-diabetes stage,” stated Dr Pradeep Gadge, consultant diabetologist.

This has also led to an increase in the number of cardiac ailments among youths. “If teenagers with diabetes do not follow doctors’ recommendations, then the chances of getting heart attack at an early age increases by 30 per cent This is one of the reasons for growing number of cardiac ailments among youths,” said Dr Pratik Soni, cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital.

Doctors have also claimed that teens with diabetes are getting under the knife for bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) to control the disease. Dr Mahendra Narwaria, one of the pioneers of laparoscopic bariatric surgery from Asian Bariatric Hospital-Ahmedabad, said that his hospital receives many young patients from Mumbai who opt for the surgery to keep a check on their diabetes.

“Many young patients with diabetes come to our hospital for bariatric surgery from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. This surgery helps in controlling diabetes so often young patients and their family members opt for it,” he said.

Highlights: India has 6.5 crore people suffering from diabetes and 7.1 crore of the population is pre-diabetic.

In India 101 out of 1,000 people suffer from diabetes states ‘Manual on health statistic in India’. By 2026, it is expected that the number of patients with diabetis will increase to 1,73,182.

The prevalence was the highest in Hyderabad (16.6%), followed by Chennai (13.5%), Bengaluru (12.4%), Kolkata (11.7%), New Delhi (11.6%) and Mumbai (9.3%), WHO report.

Urbanization, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, coupled with inherent genetic attributes and differences in body composition are responsible for an increase in diabetic cases in India.

Box: According to a survey done by Dr Pradeep Gadge, a consultant diabetologist at Breach Candy Hospital among 200 individuals from families with at least one member diagnosed with type II diabetes revealed that 78 per cent of Mumbaikars with chronic illness in the family refrain from getting screened. The survey involved individuals in the age group of 46 years and above. As many as 60 per cent of Mumbaikars do not exercise and take care of their physical well-being, despite of having at least one of their family members suffering from diabetes and heart-related problems. Box: Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) raises the demand for more research work in diabetes for better treatment. There is also an urgent need for investments in more clinical research to ensure that patients can benefit from newer and better medicines. “The last two years has seen a drop in clinical research being done in the country. “Given that India has the largest disease burden in the world, we hope that the recently amended clinical research regulatory guidelines will see more organisations investing in doing clinical research in the country,” said Suneela Thatte, president, ISCR.