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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 85-88

Pattern of presentation of Type 1 diabetic patients in Kano, Nigeria

Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication1-Aug-2016

Correspondence Address:
Umar Isa Umar
Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Endocrinology Unit, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, P.M.B. 3452, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0331-8540.187361

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Background: Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in children; its symptoms may be subtle and frequently misinterpreted. Presentation with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may be associated with significant morbidity and mortality in the paediatric population. Objective: To examine the prevalence of Type 1 diabetes in children at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano. Design: Retrospective study of case files of children with diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Patients and Methods: It was a retrospective review of case files of children younger than 18 years with diagnosis of T1DM over 4 years (January 1, 2012,–December 31, 2015). Results: A total of 7929 patients were seen during the study period, out of which 18 were diagnosed with T1DM, giving a case prevalence rate of 2.3/1000. Sixteen (89%) of the 18 patients were first presented with DKA. The mean age at presentation was 8 years, and there were more females 13/18 than males 5/18 among the subjects. The most prevalent presenting symptoms were dehydration 16 (89%), fever 14 (77.8), abdominal pain 12 (66.6%), polyuria and polydipsia 12 (66.6%). Two of the sixteen patients with DKA died with cerebral oedema during admission. Conclusion: DKA is the most common pattern of presentation of T1DM in our environment. This highlights the need for intensified efforts in education of health workers and the populace at large for quick presentation and prompt diagnosis and optimal management of childhood diabetes.

Keywords: Nigeria, patients, presentation, Type 1 diabetes

How to cite this article:
Umar UI. Pattern of presentation of Type 1 diabetic patients in Kano, Nigeria. Niger J Basic Clin Sci 2016;13:85-8

How to cite this URL:
Umar UI. Pattern of presentation of Type 1 diabetic patients in Kano, Nigeria. Niger J Basic Clin Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Oct 3];13:85-8. Available from: https://www.njbcs.net/text.asp?2016/13/2/85/187361

  Introduction Top

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a group of diseases characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action or both.[1] Type 1 DM (T1DM) remains the most common form of diabetes in childhood and is caused by insulin deficiency, following autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells.[2] Although it commonly presents in childhood, one-fourth of cases are diagnosed in adults.[3],[4],[5] Worldwide, DM is a major health problem and current studies have revealed a definite global increase in the incidence and prevalence of diabetes, with the World Health Organization (WHO) projecting that there will be almost 285 million cases in the year 2025.[6] This increase is expected in both adult and childhood diabetes, including Type 1 and 2 diabetes.[7] The WHO Diabetes Mondiale project group has reported a worldwide increase in the incidence and variation (over 400-fold) of Type 1 diabetes, with the highest occurring in Finland (over 45/100,000 children under the age of 15 years) and the lowest in parts of China and Fiji.[8] In Africa, the incidence rate in children ranges from 1.5/100,000 in Tanzania to 10.1/100,000 in Sudan.[9] However, the incidence and pattern of presentation in Nigeria are poorly documented. Regional variations exist in terms of prevalence and features of DM in children. A hospital prevalence of 1.6/1000 in Port Harcourt, South Nigeria,[10] and 0.1/1000 in Abakaliki, South-east Nigeria,[11] has been reported. In Sokoto, North-west Nigeria, a hospital prevalence rate of 0.33/1000 was reported by Ugege et al.[12]

Childhood diabetes may present with polyuria, polydipsia and polyphagia, along with lassitude, nausea and blurred vision, all of which result from the hyperglycaemia itself. However, the onset of symptoms may be sudden and is not unusual for some patients to present with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which may occur de novo or secondary to the stress of illness such as malaria, sepsis or surgery.[13]

This study aims to examine the prevalence and clinical presentation of Type 1 diabetes in children at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) over a 4-year period.

  Patients and Methods Top

The study involved a retrospective review of case note of all children diagnosed and managed as cases of DM in the Paediatric Department of AKTH between January 2012 and December 2015. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethical and Research Committee of the hospital, and the study was performed according to the Declaration of Helsinki. Childhood diabetes was diagnosed by the presence of symptoms of diabetes and a random blood glucose (>11.1 mmol/L) or fasting plasma glucose >7.0 mmol/ L. DKA was diagnosed by significant hyperglycaemia (>14 mmol/L), ketonuria, serum bicarbonate <15 mmol/L and DKA-associated clinical signs (e.g., dehydration, Kussmaul respiration, etc.). Patients with DKA were managed according to the departmental protocol of DKA management. Data retrieved from the case notes include age, sex, presenting symptoms, duration of symptoms prior to presentation and outcome of hospitalisation. The results of random plasma glucose, serum electrolytes and urinalysis were also recorded. The data were entered into SPSS version 20.0. IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA and a descriptive analysis was done.

  Results Top

Eighteen cases of childhood DM were seen out of 7929 admissions during the 4 years period, indicating a hospital prevalence of 2.3/1000 per year. The study subjects were between the ages of 15 months and 13 years, with a mean (±standard deviation) age of 8 ± 3.388 years. There were more females 13/18 than males 5/18 among the subjects [Table 1]. A family history of diabetes was found in three of the children. The majority presented with dehydration, abdominal pain, polydipsia and polyuria. Other presenting features are shown in [Table 2]. [Table 3] shows the indications for admissions; 16 of the 18 had DKA (89%), septicaemia was the precipitating factor in 6 of 16 patients with DKA and 2 of the 16 patients died with cerebral oedema during admission. [Figure 1] shows the prevalence of DKA in this study compared with the prevalence in some developed and developing countries.
Table 1: Age and sex distribution of children with diabetes mellitus

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Table 2: Common presenting clinical features in patients with diabetes mellitus

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Table 3: Indication for admission, outcome and precipitating factor for diabetic ketoacidosis

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Figure 1: Diabetic ketoacidosis as a presenting diagnosis at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria, compared with other developed and developing countries

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  Discussion Top

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and pattern of presentation of Type 1 diabetes in children in Kano. The present study found a prevalence of Type 1 diabetes of 2.3/1000 in AKTH, which is lower than the 10.1/1000 reported by John et al.[14] in a similar hospital-based study in Jos, North Central Nigeria. Our finding is however higher than what was reported by Afoke et al. of 0.33/1000 of T1DM among children in Ishiellu, South-eastern Nigeria,[15] and Ugege et al. in Sokoto, North-western Nigeria, who also reported the prevalence of 0.33/1000 among children.[12] This low prevalence is also in keeping with the few epidemiological studies on T1DM in African children, for instance, Tanzania was estimated to have a prevalence of 1.5/100,000.[9] This low prevalence had been postulated to be due to reduced genetic susceptibility to DM among black African; a finding also observed among Afro-Americans.[16],[17] The other contributory factor could be the high mortality among African children with T1DM; in rural Mozambique, life expectancy was reported to be as low as 0.6 years.[18]

The study found a female preponderance, with 13 (72.2%) females versus 5 (27.8%) males; such a female preponderance was observed in Abakaliki by Ibekwe,[11] with a male: female ratio of 1:1.2 and also in the series conducted by Salman et al. in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,[19] wherein 53.6% of patients were female. On the contrary, some studies reported male preponderance; Abdullah [20] also in Saudi Arabia found a male preponderance, with a male: female ratio of 1.3:1; this ratio is similar to the ratios observed in the UK.[21]

The most prevalent presenting features were dehydration, polyuria and polydipsia, and 89% of the patients presented in DKA in this study. Similarly, local studies in Nigeria; Abakaliki (88%),[11] Sokoto (62.5%),[12] Jos (75%)[13] and some studies from other developing countries such as South Africa (69.8%),[22] Tanzania (90%)[23] and Congo (90%)[24] have reported high frequencies of DKA. This similarity may be explained by the possible low level of awareness of signs and symptoms of diabetes in children among parents coupled with inter-current infections, poverty, in addition to poor health services with late diagnosis and poor management. On the contrary, countries with a higher level of awareness among parents, in addition to good and affordable health services with early diagnosis observed lower frequencies of DKA; 14% in Sweden [25] and 26% in the USA.[26] This is not surprising as there is robust evidence for a similar relationship between life expectancy and gross domestic product (GDP),[27] and poorer countries account for the largest share of the global burden of disease.[28] Several ecological studies have also shown that the Type 1 diabetes incidence rates correlate strongly with indicators of national prosperity such as GDP and low infant mortality.[29],[30]

In most subjects, the apparent trigger for DKA was infection. This ranged from urinary tract infection, malaria to septicaemia and bronchopneumonia. Infections have been documented as a precipitating factor for DKA.[31],[32] Other documented precipitating factors include newly diagnosed diabetes, poor insulin administration and stressful conditions.[30] The outcome of subjects was good among those admitted as 16/18 were discharged to follow-up, two died from DKA with cerebral oedema.

The finding of a higher frequency of DKA in lower socioeconomic countries may be explained by differing levels of disease awareness and healthcare provision, suggesting a considerable need to decrease the excessive morbidity, mortality and healthcare expenditure associated with DKA in these countries. This can be achieved through community intervention by improving awareness of childhood diabetes among school children, parents and health-care providers. Better disease recognition through improved awareness of diabetes is also supported by the findings that children from families with higher parental education are less likely to present in DKA and having the first-degree relative with diabetes is associated with an up to 6-fold decreased risk of DKA at diagnosis.[33]

  Conclusion Top

A relatively low prevalence of T1DM in children was found which is in keeping with other studies performed in other areas of Africa. However, this finding may not be true reflection of the actual population prevalence on account of this being a hospital-based retrospective data, with all its limitations. The diagnosis of T1DM may have been missed in the hospital, or children may have already died before they reached the hospital. However, a significant strength of this study was that it was performed over a relatively long period and examined all admissions to the paediatric ward.

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Conflicts of interest

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  References Top

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  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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