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Infant diabetes ‘rising in Bahrain’

Manama, March 8, 2012

The number of babies with diabetes, who require insulin from birth, has tripled in Bahrain in the last 20 years, according to a health expert.

Latest figures show that 25 out of 100,000 babies were born with type one insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus compared to eight per 100,000 in 1993.

"Type one diabetes is dramatically increasing in Bahrain and around the world," said Bahrain Diabetes Society (BDS) vice-president and consultant family physician Dr Mariam Al Hajeri. "There are many factors responsible for the increase, including immunity, genetic and environmental factors.”

"Over the last decade the annual incidence rate of new onset diabetes in Bahrain has risen from approximately 18 cases in the early 90s, to about 80 new cases diagnosed each year.”

"It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 children and adolescents with type one diabetes in Bahrain. The incidence of type two non-insulin dependent diabetes is also expected to increase among children in Bahrain due to the high prevalence of obesity, which is precipitated by sedentary lifestyle and genetic factors,” she added.

Dr Al Hajeri was speaking as Bahrain prepares to host a three-day camp for diabetic children today at the Bahrain Sailing Club, Al Jazayir Beach.

Around 50 children from Bahrain and the GCC, aged seven to 18, are attending the 13th Shurooq Annual Camp for Children with Diabetes.

The camp is organised by the BDS and held under the patronage of Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi. It is supported by the ministry, BDF Hospital and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI-MUB).

A multi-disciplinary health care team of doctors, nurses, dieticians and fitness trainers are available throughout the camp to provide guidance and continuous supervision for children.

Children who attended previous camps will act as role models for newly-diagnosed youngsters to share their experiences on how to manage the condition.

The youngsters will also learn how to be responsible for their health, how to inject accurate insulin doses, how to identify carbohydrate count in foods and what types of foods and quantity they should eat.

They will also discuss the strategies for preventing the complications of diabetes, how to monitor their blood sugar levels, effectively cope with the physical and psychosocial demands of the condition and gain new friends who share the same challenges.

Through games, recreational and educational activities, sports, yoga, art workshops and sharing experiences they learn how to socialise and handle their disease with confidence.

"It's very important to educate children about how to live peacefully with diabetes, how to take their blood sugar, how to inject and how to cope with hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia," said Dr Al Hajeri.

"The camp is very beneficial for newly-diagnosed children. We teach them through fun activities and games.

"Leaders who have been on the camp in previous years are successful in being independent, they are more confident, can take care of themselves and don't need the help of their mothers.

"The camp changes their life because it gives children independence and means they can now travel without their parents."

A closing ceremony will be held on Saturday at 4pm. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | insulin | Diabetes | Children | Infants |

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