The pancreas secretes a hormone named Insulin. This hormone regulates glucose consumption by turning it to energy which is then used by the body to ensure a good metabolism. Accordingly, when insulin is produced in poor quantities, the amount of glucose in the body will not be regulated which then causes diabetes.
Diabetes comes in several types such as type I, type II and gestational diabetes. Type I affects children at an early age, Type II affects adults, and Gestational Diabetes threatens pregnant women. When it occurs, diabetes is treated in medical institutions.
The first philanthropic medical institution in the Middle East that dealt with diabetes was created in 1992 in Lebanon. This center had a special unit which focused on treating children who suffer from chronic diseases. As a result, not only did this institution deal with the medical community but it also helped the patients’ families through providing treatments and raising awareness about diabetes. The Chronic Care Center dealt with Thalassemia and Type I Diabetes.
Since no medical center functions without doctors, the center formed a team that included doctors and experts coming from different academic disciplines. This team ensured an ideal therapeutic control and medical follow up so that patients would heal from this disorder. Additionally, the Center assisted families to realize the disease in its early stages in order to help their children in overcoming it.
A research done by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) in 2015, showed that in Lebanon 1 out of 6 individuals have diabetes (22nd worldwide). Diabetes is caused by several reasons including lack of exercise, poor diet and increasing obesity. The study also mentioned that ¼ million Lebanese citizens, remain undiagnosed since 1/3 do not know they have Diabetes.
The most common symptoms for this disorder include frequent urination, extreme thirst and hunger, weight increase or weight loss, cuts and bruises that won’t heal, male sexual dysfunction, blurry vision, numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
In the Chronic Care Center, diabetic patients drop a visit every 1 to 3 months. In this visit, the center makes sure to assess and follow-up on the treatment process. The process includes glucose monitoring, self-management skills, nutritional information and growth status. The visit alongside the superiority of medical services presented by the Center help in building a friendly atmosphere, so that diabetic children would share their concerns and experiences with their peers without hesitation.
On March 2012, 1750 young patients were listed as diabetic by the Chronic Care Center. Usually, they are referred by pediatricians from all over Lebanon. Regarding their ages, most of the patients are between 10 and 20 years old. Throughout 2011, the Center realized a significant number of new cases less than 10 years old.
The young patients are managing well with their chronic situation. Between the adults diabetics, 43% are college students, 37% are graduates who are considered to be productive members of the society. Those people have the ability to accept their chronic condition with the support of their endocrinologist.
Regardless of the economic and social restrictions, the Chronic Care Center keeps the doors open to patients that are under 21 years beside freshly identified Type I Diabetic children.
Written by Karem Monzer