Posted on November 12, 2019

Severe thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, and losing weight for unknown reasons – all of these may indicate that a child has diabetes, but their family may not realize it. Research conducted by the International Diabetes Federation has revealed that many parents struggle to notice the warning signs of their child's diabetes, and one in three sets of parents has never recognized them.

Dr. Abdullah Al Hamaq, Executive Director of Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA) – a member of Qatar Foundation – says that the number of children diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is rising every year. “There is evidence that Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents is increasing in some countries. including Qatar, according to studies conducted by pediatric endocrinologists at Hamad Medical Corporation,” he said. “These results underscore the need to raise awareness of diabetes in order to help people detect early signs of the condition, so we should urge families to learn more about these signs."

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World Diabetes Day, which takes place on November 14, is the world's largest diabetes awareness campaign, marked by the International Diabetes Federation and seeing more than 200 associations around the world participate, including QDA. Dr. Al Hamaq explained said that, since 1996, QDA has contributed to the message of World Diabetes Day annually through events that run throughout the month of November. This year and in 2020, such events will reflect the slogan Family and Diabetes: Protect Your Family.

Katie Nahas, Program Manager, QDA, said: “On World Diabetes Day, we are always keen to raise public awareness of the disease and how to live with it, by organizing a series of awareness events in schools, shopping malls, and many other places in Qatar. “The annual Diabetes Walkathon will be held in Oxygen Park at Education City on November 15, from 2pm-5pm, and will be accompanied by a range of awareness and entertainment activities. Participants will also have a blood sugar test and an assessment to check risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, in kiosks located in the park”

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Global statistics indicate that there are more than one million children and adolescents with diabetes around the world, including about 176,000 in the Middle East and North Africa, and that every eight seconds a person dies from diabetes. Dr. Amal Mustafa, Head of the Education Department, QDA, said: "Diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent among children and adolescents, and as with Type 1 diagnoses, children and adolescents diagnosed with Type 2 are experiencing complications in early adulthood, which is a significant burden on family and society". 

“The role of the family is very important in identifying signs that may indicate their children are diabetic, and this will help them to be diagnosed and get treatment early before they develop serious complications. After diagnosis, parents must help their children to follow a healthy lifestyle so that they can live with diabetes in a healthy way. "