According to the World Diabetes Federation, over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. Of the 425 million cases of diabetes all across the world, type 2 diabetes is the one which is more common.
Type 2 diabetes is very different from type 1 diabetes. A person diagnosed with type 1 doesn’t make any insulin, whereas people living with type 2 are insulin resistant, which can lead to a reduction in insulin production over time.
In other words, their body doesn’t use insulin properly and also may not make enough insulin, so it’s harder for them to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms, though some people experience symptoms such as including increased thirst, hunger, and urination, fatigue, blurry vision, and frequent infections. But the good news is that the disease is controllable.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Ruchi Parik, Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, Surya Hospitals, said, “It entire family plays a central role in the care of the person living with diabetes in regards to treatment, adequate and balanced diet and daily exercise.”
She added, “Health care system makes an effort to provide awareness, education and essential medicines to support the family for achieving optimal glycaemic control and a better quality of life for people with diabetes.”
Diabetes can be a demanding disease to manage. People who have the condition must constantly watch what they eat, check their blood sugar levels regularly, and take medication to keep those levels steady
If you know someone living with type 2 diabetes, you may be concerned about their health and well-being. This is a chronic illness requiring lifelong maintenance. You can’t remove the disease, but you can offer support, comfort, and kindness in a number of ways.
Dr Phulrenu Chauhan, Endocrinologist, P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, said, “There is an incidence of diabetes amongst individuals. It is disheartening that the disease today is also commonly seen amongst individuals in the age bracket of 10-20 years. This is because of poor lifestyle activities and environmental factors. Early diagnosis helps to keep the disease under control.”
Chauhan added, “We provide support in the form of medication. But, it also depends on the patients to keep check on blood sugar regulation as it is very important to keep the disease under control. I advise my patients to eat healthily and exercise regularly. In my practice, I have seen patients slip into depression. At this point in time family plays a significant role. The support and courage rendered by the loved ones help patients recoup and live with the disease.”
Caring for children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is complex and challenging. There are great demands on the caretakers’ (parents, siblings, relatives) time who look to the healthcare personnel for support. This support provided by the healthcare personnel requires a multidisciplinary team (MDT) effort for best outcomes, namely a healthy and happy child.
“Parents, as well as teachers, must be attentive towards the nutritional intake amongst school children. The consumption of inappropriate food is the highest amongst school children between the age group of 7-17; and therefore most of the problems begin in this age group,” informed Dr Anil Bhoraskar, Senior Diabetologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim and Scientific Secretary, Diabetic Association of India.
“With childhood obesity on the rise, Type-2 Diabetes could be projected in the future. Children give more importance to their sensory attributes than health aspects, while choosing food, packaged and ready-to-eat foods are preferred due to its convenience and easy availability in the market,” stated Bhoraskar.
What you can do
Learn about diabetes. Find out why and when blood sugar should be checked, how to recognise and handle highs and lows (more below), what lifestyle changes are needed, and where to go for information and help.
Know diabetes is individual. Each person who has diabetes is different, and their treatment plan needs to be customized to their specific needs. It may be very different from that of other people you know with diabetes.
Ask your friend or relative how you can help, and then listen to what they say. They may want reminders and assistance (or may not), and their needs can change over time.
Go to appointments if it’s okay with your relative or friend. You could learn more about how diabetes affects them and how you can be the most helpful.
Give them time in the daily schedule so they can manage their diabetes—check blood sugar, make healthy food, take a walk.
Avoid blame. Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, but being overweight is just one of several factors involved. And blood sugar levels can be hard to control even with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Diabetes is complicated!