Dr. Nwaome Nwaogu, a Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, advised parents to moderate sugar and refined carbs gave to children to avoid being diabetic.
Nwaogu, a member of the Ask the Paediatrician Foundation, an NGO, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, in commemoration of the World Diabetes Day, annually celebrated on Nov. 14 to raise awareness about diabetes, its prevention, complications and care for people living with the condition.
The theme of the 2019 celebration is “Family and Diabetes”, aimed at raising more awareness of the impact of the disease on families and support networks for sufferers of the ailment.
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It is also aimed at promoting the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education on the disease.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that as many as 212 million people or half of all adults currently living with diabetes are not diagnosed.
The NGO consultant, who said that diabetes is a lifelong condition caused by too much sugar in the blood, which affects the way our bodies handle the energy found in food.
She said there were several types of diabetes, which include type-1, commonly found in children, type-2 in adults, gestational diabetes in pregnant women and others.
“In the type-1, there is absolute insulin lack; so it means children with diabetes mellitus require insulin for life.
“Type-2 diabetes mellitus is relative lack of insulin and it is increasingly being found in children, especially in adolescents,’’ she said.
While warning parents to desist from giving herbs or native concoction to children, the pediatrician stressed the need for adoption of a healthy lifestyle to manage and regulate blood sugar and diabetes.
She encouraged parents to also engage in frequent blood glucose testing, regular and balanced meals, portion control, daily exercise and regular medical check-up for children suffering from diabetes.
She added that “any family that has a diabetic child will need nutritional overhaul by adopting balanced and healthy meals at regular times.
“Refined carbohydrates such as cakes and sugary drinks should be limited, while adequate fruits and vegetables should be consumed.
“Regular and balanced meals are the keywords as portion control is also essential.”
Nwaogu emphasised the need to engage in regular blood glucose monitoring, particularly after intense sporting activity.
She said, “the child’s HbA1C should be monitored regularly, which is a blood test that estimates blood glucose levels over a period of three months and helps to identify the risk of complications.”
She listed complications such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, kidney failure, damage to the eyes and ulcers, especially on the foot that never heals as challenges that might affect people living with diabetes.
“Hence, the diabetic child requires regular eye, urine and blood pressure check, while weight loss or gain should be monitored.”