26 May 2011

by Bi Lee

International Diabetes Federation has estimated 10,000 children and adolescents affected by type one diabetes in Australia. 


The incidence of type one diabetes, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes, is rising two to four per cent per year in the country.

IDF said that this increase is likely due to changes in environmental risk factors, increased height and weight development, and possibly some aspects of diet.

According to statistical data from IDF, Australia ranks third in the number of children diagnosed with type one diabetes in the western pacific region. China and Philippines takes first and second place respectively. 


Diabetes is the name given to a group of conditions that occurs when the level of glucose in the blood becomes higher than normal. There are two main types of diabetes – type one and type two. 

In additional to the health problems posed by diabetes, children also face a series of psychological issues.


A study determined that both internalised and externalised behaviour problems were increased in children with diabetes. For example, boys with diabetes became more aggressive than boys without diabetes.


They also found that Australian families became less flexible over time in diabetes-related activities. 

"Fluctuations in blood glucose level causes direct impact upon energy usage by the brain. This can lead to physical and central nervous system symptoms. Some children can develop quite marked behaviour change including dysinhibition and aggression," said Monash Children's Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Phil Bergman.

Dr Bergman also said that there is an increased incidence of variety of problems, particularly in area of anxiety disrders, family interactions and development of independence.

Diabetes Australia runs a number of programs to raise awareness of diabetes among children including camps targeted at diabetic patients from four to 17 years old.

Support officer for the DA camp programs Jane Cheney said that they received many more applications each year than the places they have available on each camp.

“Our feedback from parents is always extremely positive and most children would love to come year after year if this was possible,” said Ms Cheney.

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