With proper care, adolescents with diabetes can lead full and healthy lives
Diabetes has a unique impact on the lives of adolescents and requires constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, medication and balancing the effects of food and activity. With careful management by diabetologists, nutritionists, and psychologists, and with support from parents, these young people can lead full and healthy lives. They can participate in sports and compete for jobs as effectively as those adolescents without diabetes.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF)’s World Diabetes Day campaign focuses this year on children and adolescents with diabetes. According to IDF, children and adolescents with diabetes face a lifetime of living with a disease that poses peculiar challenges for them. These struggles include higher insulin insensitivity linked to puberty, rapid behavioural changes, increased risk of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
According to IDF, globally there are 500,000 children under 15 years of age, type 1 diabetes. Of these children, more than a quarter live in South East Asia. Type 2 diabetes is increasing in children worldwide, with some as young as 8 years of age. Many of them are from ethnic groups known to be a high risk of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly in children in both developed and developing countries. The majority of children (85%) with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis.
Type 2 diabetes in young people severely increases the risks of complications such as heart disease at an early age. This can have serious consequences on the child’s health. IDF recommends that provisions be made to deliver the best possible care, prevent long-term complications, and promote further research in order to reach a better understanding of the condition. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, (as also in adults) is due to a combination of insensitivity to insulin and relative failure of beta-cell secretion. There are a number of genetic and environmental risk factors for insensitivity to insulin and limited beta-cell reserves, including ethnicity, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, family history of type 2 diabetes, puberty, low birth weight, exposure to diabetes in the uterus, and female gender. There is ample evidence that certain ethnic groups have greater susceptibility to diabetes than others. According to IDF, "there are currently over 250 million people with diabetes; with approximately 120 million of them in the developing world. Increased urbanisation, rapid cultural and social changes, unhealthy lifestyles and behavioural patterns mean that 80% of global diabetes cases are predicted to occur in low and middle income countries."
"Diabetes is part of a larger global epidemic of non-communicable diseases. Because these diseases share many risk factors, policies that encourage healthy eating and active living will prevent not only type 2 diabetes, but also obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic respiratory illnesses, and diet-related cancers. An integrated system can maximize disease prevention while avoiding the need to develop separate courses of action. Strategies proposed here are prioritized according to their ability to be aligned and integrated into a comprehensive movement that addresses all non-communicable diseases," said Dr Anoop Misra, Director and Head, Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospitals, New Delhi and NOIDA.
He further said that, "Nutrition plays a very important role in the management of diabetes among adolescents and others. Proper nutritional intake of high fibrous diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, wholesome grain/cereal intake, whole pulses, and a low intake of refined cereals, calorie dense foods, saturated fats, oily/ fried / fatty foods needs to be promoted."
"In growing children and adolescents, allowance must be made of adequate calories and balanced nutrition. Along with proper nutrition, it is very important to encourage daily physical activity" said Dr Misra.
There is a need to spread the awareness regarding diabetes and the factors that could make the adolescents at a high risk for the onset of type 2 diabetes. Those children and adolescents who have a parent or sibling living with type 2 diabetes, should take extra care. They need to strictly maintain normal weight, play or do some aerobic exercises at least 30 minutes a day, take plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid junk food.
"In both urban and rural areas, diabetes in poor children and adolescents does not get diagnosed in time. There could be several reasons for this like lack of education, no proper care, girl child stigma and poverty," said Dr. Sonia Kakkar, a Delhi based doctor. She further said that "though diabetes action has been initiated, efforts are weak and fragmented. Progress is impeded by a health system that places a higher priority on communicable diseases and maternal and child health services and by a private health system driven by curative medicine. However, prevention is cost-effective and should be the main focus."
A comprehensive approach that addresses type 2 diabetes risk factors is needed. Harnessing positive aspects of globalization - increased information flow, improved technology, and innovation - via international collaboration is crucial. In India, a country with limited health resources, an approach that draws on many sectors - including the private sector - can ensure successful implementation of the diabetes care programme for adolescents.
(The author is a Special Correspondent to Citizen News Service (CNS). Email: email@example.com)
Asian Tribune, Bangkok, Thailand
Banderas News, Mexico
Standard Times, Sierra Leone
Northern News Lines, Chandigarh
Assam Times, Guwahati, Assam
Citizen News Service (CNS)
Ghana News, Accra, Ghana
Media for Freedom, Kathmandu, Nepal
Bihar and Jharkhand News Service (BJNS)
Bihar Times, Patna, Bihar
News Medical.net, Australia
News Blaze, USA
My News, Delhi
Yahoo! Buzz News
Op-Ed News (OEN), UK
Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
Chris Floyd News
The Zimbabwe Guardian, Harare, Zimbabwe
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Drug-resistant TB
- Childhood TB
- TB vaccine
- HIV vaccine
- TB-HIV co-infection
- TB-Diabetes co-morbidity
- Gender and TB
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
- Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Injecting drug use & harm reduction
- Swine flu
- Lung health
- Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
- Tropical diseases
- Health research
- Gender justice
- Child rights and health
Special Days for health communications
- World Cancer Day: 4 February
- International Women's Day: 8 March
- World Water Day: 22 March
- World Tuberculosis Day: 24 March
- World Health Day: 7 April
- World Malaria Day: 25 April
- World Asthma Day: 1st Tuesday of May
- World No Tobacco Day: 31 May
- World Environment Day: 5 June
- World Hepatitis Day: 28 July
- World Heart Day: 29 September
- World Mental Health Day: 10 October
- World Pneumonia Day: 12 November
- World Diabetes Day: 14 November
- World COPD Day: 20 November
- 16 days of activism against gender violence: 25 November – 10 December
- World AIDS Day: 1 December
- International Human Rights Day: 10 December
- Communal harmony
- Dalit rights and caste equity
- Lokpal Bill
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA)
- Nuclear disarmament and peace
- Palestine and Israel
- Right To Education (RTE)
- Right To Information (RTI)
- Trade agreements and right to health
- CNS Correspondents
- How to become a CNS Correspondent?
- CNS Health Fellowship Programme
- CNS Health Justice Media Awards
- CNS Webinars
- CNS Content Submission Policy and Agreement