Aim: To determine the clinical features of diabetes in children and adolescents in Ghana.
Methods: Retrospective review of clinical features of all children and adolescents with new-onset diabetes seen at the paediatric endocrinology clinic of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, from February 2012 to Auguest 2016.
Results: One hundred and six subjects presented with diabetes. Ninety (84.9%) were diagnosed by clinical features and family history as type 1, and 16 (15.1%) type 2. For type 1 subjects, age range at diagnosis was 0.9-19.9 year (y), peak age of onset 12-13 year, and 3.3% were < 5 year, 21.1% 5- < 10 year, 45.6% 10- < 15 year and 30.0% 15- < 20 year. Seventy-one point one percent were female. Common clinical features were polyuria (100%), polydipsia (98.9%), and weight loss (82.2%). Mean BMI SD was -0.54, range -3.84 to 2.47. 60.0% presented in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Nine had infections at onset (skin, abscess, leg ulcer). Mean ± SD HbA1c at diagnosis was 12.7% ± 1.9% (115 ± 21 mmol/mol). Four have since died: Hypoglycaemia (2), recurrent DKA (1), osteosarcoma (1). Two other type 1 cases died of DKA at presentation in emergency before being seen by the paediatric endocrinologist. Crude mortality rate including these 2 cases was 32.2/1000 patient years. Type 2 cases were 81% female, age of onset 9-19 year. Mean BMI SD was 1.49, range -0.87 to 2.61. Forty-three point eight percent presented in DKA. All type 2 cases had acanthosis nigricans. Overall, 9.8% did not have home refrigeration, most using clay pot evaporative cooling for insulin storage.
Conclusion: Type 1 occurs with a female preponderance and high DKA rates. Type 2 also occurs. Typology based on clinical features is difficult. Community and professional awareness is warranted.
Keywords: Children; Developing countries; Diabetes; Ghana; Mortality.