Mumbai, 13th November 2022: India has noted a rise of 150% in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the past three decades. According to ICMR data, around 15,000 fresh cases of Type-1 diabetes among children below 14 years have been reported every year. In 2015, approximately 3 children per lakh were diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes, and that number has increased by 80-100% in 2022. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are the key factors in the effective management of Type-1 diabetes, however physical activity and psychosocial support play an equally critical role. To provide top-quality care, support research and management of the disease there is a special program initiated by P. D. Hinduja Hospital along with Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), Chennai and KEM Hospital, Pune as - The Type 1 Diabetes (T1D1) Program. This aims to create a collective understanding of the disease, improve awareness among patients, and educate caregivers. The program also offers free treatment for patients below 18 years who come from financially weaker sections along with free lab tests, insulin and glucometers.
P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC commemorated World Diabetes Day 2022 by organizing a special Walkathon with kids part of the T1D1 Program at the hospital to raise awareness about juvenile Type -1 diabetes and to encourage them to live their childhood to the fullest and actively participate in physical activities along with some other fun activities.
While Type-2 diabetes is mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time, Type-1 diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes) is an autoimmune disease that often shows up early in life and is mainly dependent on genetics. As the disease is contracted at an early age, the general assumption is that the child will have a compromised life with limited physical activity.
Mr. Gautam Khanna, CEO, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC shared, “At P.D. Hinduja Hospital we always strive and focus on the current diseases prevalent in the city of Mumbai. A trend of Type-1 diabetes has been on a rise, especially among lives below the age group of 18 and our efforts through our very successful T1D1 program aim to arrest these growing concerns amongst the underprivileged children in the city. It provides 5 years of free treatment, regular consultations with experts, free lab tests and essential diabetic care products. The program aims to provide consultation, education and counseling to the cities young patients. We want to increase the sense of normalcy for these kids with Type-1 diabetes plus raise awareness about juvenile diabetes through this World Diabetes Day walkathon and other fun activities where we highlight the importance of physical activity as well as showcase their ability to participate in such activities.“
According to the hospital, experts treating children living with Type-1 Diabetes in about 8 out of 10 cases, the child or their parents believe that they cannot participate in any physical activities and that they will have a very restricted lifestyle. However, the doctors at the hospital have been advising that these children need to actively participate in physical activities following a healthy diet and prescribed insulin therapy. In today’s time and age, it Is extremely important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and change the narrative. Additionally, psychosocial aspects also need to be taken care of, post diagnosing a child with T1D it is difficult for the child as well as the parents due to the societal image of what it means to be ‘diabetic’.
Dr. Phulrenu Chauhan, Consultant, Section Co-Ordinator, Department of Endocrinology, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC said,. “Type-1 Diabetes mellites predominantly seen in children & adolescents has been increasing at an alarming rate. Although there is no cure for Type-1 diabetics, it can be adequately managed by keeping the blood sugar levels in check with timely insulin, a healthy diet & lifestyle changes to prevent complications. As the whole experience can be traumatic for both the kids & parents, Psychological support is essential. There needs to be more awareness and acceptance of the fact that children with Type-1 diabetes who use insulin as a routine are as normal as any other child. Early diagnosis, timely diabetes management, support, and encouragement to lead a normal life would help make the future healthier for children living with Type-1 diabetes.”
There are multiple international guidelines available for Type-1 diabetes management, however, culturally adaptable guidelines which include affordable diabetes care is needed to increase awareness and have maximum reach in densely populated countries like India. As a society, we need to create an accepting environment for our children so they don’t feel denied out of normal things that everyone should experience. Catering to their psychosocial needs like social groups, a positive school, and work environment would further improve their will to deal with an autoimmune disease. It’s time, we focus on controlling the spread rather than shaming those affected.