Medical practitioner Dr Florence Koryo Akumiah says a multi-disciplinary approach is required to effectively manage diabetes in adolescents and children.

According to her, diabetes in children and adolescents may expose them to psychiatric factors such as depression, stress and anxiety, which can negatively affect the overall management of the disease.

Dr Akumiah made this known on the multiple award-winning health and wellness programme, Vodafone Healthline.

Speaking to host Frema Asiedu on ‘Diabetes in Adolescents,’ she explained: “The management of diabetes requires a multi-disciplinary approach. It is not just the physician. Sometimes psychologists, dieticians, physical therapists and other doctors may be required. So, there is a need for a multi-disciplinary team.”

The doctor also highlighted the need for parents to be involved in the management and treatment process.

She suggested parents should educate their children on the disease and its treatment so that the children can accept and comply with the management and treatment of the disease.

Meanwhile, Dr Akumiah has advised parents to lessen the stress on their children for optimal diabetes management.

“Adolescents come under a lot of stress because of activities in school, house chores or the constant stress from social issues. The hormone produced when you feel stressed, cortisol, is the counter-hormone to insulin.

“Having a high cortisol level makes glucose control poor. Stress is also one precipitant of hyperglycaemia. So, we try as much as possible not to make life more difficult than it already is for them.”

Subtle diabetes symptoms parents should look out for 

Dr Akumiah explained diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body manages food by converting food to energy. She notes that the principal forms of this disease are Type I and Type II.

She continued by saying, while the former can occur spontaneously in children and adolescents, the latter could occur because of family history.

According to her, children with Type I diabetes may lose weight even though they may have an appetite for food, whereas children with Type II diabetes gain weight.

However, the common symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst and water intake, and risk of infections.

The doctor thus advised parents to frequent their medical centres with their children for regular check-ups.

Vodafone Healthline is Vodafone’s flagship corporate social investment project that gives all members of the society equal access to relevant and credible health information.

The telecom giant has also established the Vodafone Healthline Call Centre, which can be reached toll-free via 255 for Vodafone customers and 0509999255 on other networks.