LFHC Treats Child with Malnutrition-Related Diabetes

Six-year-old Thorhua Wa was brought to LFHC last month after her parents became concerned that she wasn’t sleeping well and getting out of bed often to urinate.

Doctors determined that Thorhua was afflicted with malnutrition-related diabetes. This is not a condition that LFHC doctors see very often and is extremely complicated to manage. Malnutrition-Related diabetes is similar to Type 1 diabetes, but patients require 2-3 times more insulin to manage their disease.

In Type 1 diabetes, the child’s body does not produce insulin. The reason this occurs in not fully understood. The disease is fatal for children afflicted with Type 1 diabetes who have no access to insulin.

The LFHC nutrition team immediately began to teach Thorhua’s family about diabetes and help them understand the importance appropriate blood-glucose control. Children with diabetes suffer from dangerous short-term effects of low blood-sugar, but also must work to prevent the long-term complications which can lead to blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

The team instructed Thorhua’s parents about how to proceed after measuring her glucose, how to inject insulin safely, and how to read her symptoms — especially for signs of low blood-sugar which can cause seizure, coma or death if not quickly recognized and treated. The team devoted much time to teach the family about managing Thorhua’s diet.

Action4Diabetics, a Southeast Asia charity, generously collaborated with LFHC to support Thorhua and donated insulin and glucose measurement kits. A4D also is providing transportation fee reimbursements for the many visits it will take to manage her diabetes safely.

LFHC Nutritionist Soulee Chakeryere has worked closely with Thorhua’s parents and has helped translate information into the Hmong language for the family. Since leaving LFHC, the family has called Soulee daily to report Thorhua’s blood-sugars and to ensure that everything is staying on track as they transition her care to home life.

Laos has one of the lowest rates of diabetes in Asia, with 4 percent of the population afflicted with the disease, according to the International Diabetes Federation. However, as many as half the cases of diabetes worldwide go undiagnosed.

An estimated 1.1 million children worldwide have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which was formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes.