Type 1 diabetes on a rise in children: ICMR releases new guidelines

India has been battling the Covid-19 pandemic for almost three years now and the highly contagious virus has disproportionately affected people with diabetes. In an effort to analyse the ongoing situation for diabetic people, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), through a first nationwide diabetes prevalence study, has figured out that the burden of diabetes is now increasing in the age group of 25–34 years in both urban and rural areas. In fact, children are at a higher risk of getting diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in India.

“In India, diabetes in the young presents a fascinating array of different types of diabetes of which Type 1 diabetes would be the commonest in children and adolescents. One should, however, also keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is also now becoming more common in children (sic),” the ICMR study stated.

“India is home to the world’s second-largest adult diabetes population and every sixth person with diabetes in the world is an Indian. The past three decades witnessed a 150 per cent increase in the number of people with diabetes in the country,” the report added.

Type 1 diabetes affects 4.9 cases in 100,000 population per year in India.

diabetes and children
Watch out for the signs and symptoms of diabetes among children. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What exactly is type 1 diabetes?

It is usually characterised by insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia in people who have an underlying genetic susceptibility. Children or teens usually develop type 1 diabetes when their pancreas either stops making insulin or makes it in very low amounts. Since without insulin, the blood sugar can’t reach the cells and hence, builds up in the bloodstream.

Also, read: How to control diabetes? Follow these top 9 lifestyle tips

Guidelines to control type 1 diabetes

Taking cognizance of the rise of Type 1 diabetes in children, the ICMR on June 6 released guidelines to effectively manage Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), including  nutritional habits to insulin use and exercise to regular monitoring .

The autoimmune type 1 diabetes disease is characterized by insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia in people with underlying genetic susceptibility.

Key points to manage type 1 diabetes in children and adults:

1. Healthy diet

ICMR recommends eating a healthy and nutritious diet. Carbohydrates should account for 50-55 percent of total calories in a day while fats should be 30 percent of total calories, and protein 15-20 percent. Salt intake should be limited and since processed foods are high in salt, consume them in moderation.

2. Exercise

Type 1 diabetes patients should regularly exercise in order to improve overall well-being, prevent obesity and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

how to control diabetes?
Changing your lifestyle is a big step towards managing diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Blood glucose monitoring

In children and adults with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose monitoring is vital to predict glycemic control.

4. Insulin therapies

All children and adults with Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) need to get insulin once they are diagnosed and have to continue throughout life. So make sure that you understand the optimal use of insulin under the guidance of a physician, diabetes educator, and nutritionist, in order to understand its best use and dose adjustment.

Nonetheless, an increased awareness and better diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children is required for them to live a long, healthy life.

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