Juvenile Diabetes is also known as Diabetes Mellitus Type 1, which is a form of diabetes that affects people below the age of 25.
It is estimated every year 80,000 children develop this disease worldwide. It is a controllable and easy disease to live with proper care. For example, youngsters struggling with diabetes in India have a tough time. This is because many are unaware of what the disease is or the complications caused by it.
Today marks two very important days, World Diabetes Day and Children’s Day. This article is an attempt to spread awareness of juvenile diabetes in India.
This type of disease is due to lack of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone required to break down sugar to produce energy. This, in turn, results in high blood sugar levels in the body. Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes are frequent urination, increased thirst, increased appetite, weight loss, blurry vision, fatigue and poor healing.
Diabetes can be fatal if not diagnosed and controlled at the earliest stage possible. This disease affects those depending on genetics and environmental factors. People suffering from diabetes require regular doses of insulin to survive.
There are multiple challenges people with diabetes in India have to face. To begin with, India sells products without nutritional labels. In the West, every product sold has a clear nutritional label describing all the ingredients in that particular product. But India is different, none of the products have details and even restaurants have varied recipes and portion sizes.
A person with diabetes has to control their food intake. They also have to calculate their carbohydrate intake to adjust for the insulin shot.
Another issue they face in India is an accidental intake of sugar. Juvenile diabetic patients tend to get dizzy spells and blackout. The first reaction of almost any Indian is to treat a dizzy patient with sugar. This works for just about anyone but for a dizzy diabetic patient, it’s adding fuel to the fire.
A quick solution to this problem would be name tags. Youngsters with juvenile diabetes can sport a name tag which states they have Type 1 Diabetes. This will act as a red alert but only for the people who are aware of diabetes.
As of 2014, 70,000 children below the age of 15 were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in India. This is a growing problem that needs to be addressed at the earliest.
Shambhavi Varma, a diabetic patient explains what it’s like living with Type 1 Diabetes in India. She said, “It’s tough, and very lonely out here. People do not know about it, and stare at you when they see a 17 year old pricking herself!”
Just that one statement highlights the flaws of this great big country. India has failed to spread awareness regarding diabetes causing a hard life for youngsters. Adolescence is already a tough time for a child but for someone with a disease that requires constant attention can be even harder. Our leaders talk big about the youth being the future of the country. So, if the youth are the future of India, shouldn’t we protect them? But no, we remain in an ignorant country where only the ones suffering are aware of the plights of this horrible disease.
In a country with 1.3 billion people, there is one recognized organization dedicated to juvenile diabetes, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. It began in 1982 in Mumbai and works towards spreading the word about Juvenile Diabetes. They conduct regular camps and their winter camp is coming up. Check out their website for more details: www.jdfmumbai.org
Let’s take this occasion of Diabetes Day and Children’s Day to spread awareness about diabetes, to make the lives of those 70,000 children better.