VIJAYAWADA: Two kids of the city are fighting a tough battle against the rare Leptin deficiency, a condition that causes severe obesity. According to doctors, these are perhaps the first two such cases in Andhra Pradesh and the third case in India. What has made the struggle of the kids against the disease more difficult is the fact that their parents are poor and are unable to bear the cost of the treatment that may run up to Rs 50 lakh, if not more, for the duo.
One of the kids, Sk Sufiyan, weighs 42 kg. He is five years of age. The other kid, Sufiyan’s brother, Sk Tabish weighs 32 kg. He is two years old. “We have to hide biscuits or other food items in the kitchen and take turns to make them walk before each meal,’’ said Sk Khadar Hussain, the father of the duo.
Alarmed by the growing weight of his kids and worried of their habit of overeating, Khadar Hussain, who works in an elevator company, desperately began to look for help. He first consulted a bariatric surgeon at Rayavellore in Tamil Nadu and later shifted the kids to Livlife Hospitals in the city. He was informed by the doctors of the hospital that his sons’ disease was not just rare, but there was no treatment for the disease available in the country and the kids should be shifted to the USA for further treatment.
Dr Dukkipati Nanda Kishore, of Livlife Hospitals, who is at present treating the kids said that the toddlers were brought to the hospital, two months ago, by their parents with the complaint that the kids were overweight and were eating excessively. “After proper medical examination, the duo was diagnosed of Leptin hormone deficiency and consanguineous marriage of their parents has also been one of the reasons for the deficiency,” he said.The toddlers, if not treated, would develop hypertension, diabetes, breathing problem and kidney problem, the doctor said.
What is the disease?
Congenital leptin deficiency is a condition that causes severe obesity, which begins within the first few months of birth. Affected kids, at birth, are of normal weight. However, they gain weight quickly, as they stay constantly hungry and overeat.
Mutations in the LEP gene is said to be the reason behind congenital Leptin deficiency. This gene is the reason behind the formation of the hormone called leptin. Leptin, say experts, regulates body weight to a great extent. Fat cells of the body release the hormone in proportion to their size. LEP gene mutations, which cause leptin deficiency, lead to an absence of leptin.