World Diabetes Day has grown from humble beginnings to become a globally-celebrated event to increase awareness. This year the occasion is concerned with diabetes in children and adolescents.
Money and property, or the lack thereof, are not the only assets that we might inherit from our family of origin. Our genetic make-up is also a mixture of inherited material coming both from our maternal and paternal sides of the family.
For some it’s the tell-tale colour or shape of the eyes or tilt of the jaw, for others it’s the undesired shape of the nose or curve of the hips and thighs. Whatever it is, it is something we can do very little about no matter how hard we try.
The tendency to develop certain conditions is also inherited in the same way. People who have a family history of heart disease, blood pressure, asthma, eczema, certain cancers and many other conditions are more prone to develop those same conditions than others who do not. Diabetes mellitus, or the inability to regulate blood sugar levels efficiently, is one such condition. It is known to affect millions worldwide and is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality due to the complications it can set off.
Locally, thousands of individuals from all age groups and all walks of life are afflicted by this condition. “We do not know the exact figures since no proper epidemiological study has been carried out,” explains consultant diabetologist Mario Cachia. “However, we estimate that there are from 35,000 to 50,000 people suffering from the condition locally, if not more; it is also evident that there is an increase in incidence both in the childhood and the adult forms from the increasing number of appointments we get at the Diabetes Clinic and also taking into consideration that people are now living longer,” he adds.
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