Managing Diabetes in Young Adults & Children

The prevalence of diabetes in youngsters is on the rise in India. The silver lining is that it can now be managed & controlled more effectively & with better precision.

Diabetes Care|Apr.01, 2022

India is touted to be the “youngest country” in the world with more than half of the population under the age of 25 and 65% under the age of 35. The increased incidence of chronic conditions like diabetes in young adults also puts them at higher risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. The two most common forms of diabetes in young Indians are T1DM and T2DM, each having an almost similar prevalence of 40-45 percent. However, T2DM onset in Indians is nearly two decades earlier than in the west. The prevalence of T2DM in India is 8-10 per cent with an additional 15 percent having pre-diabetes.

Juvenile diabetes: Symptoms and Challenges

While Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where children depend on insulin for treatment, Type 2 diabetes is because of insulin resistance. Diabetes is a tricky condition for adults to manage, you can only imagine how overwhelming it can be when it happens to younger people. Management of sugar levels can be quite the challenge with compromising on letting kids be kids.

The symptoms of juvenile diabetes are -

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent urination (possibly bed-wetting)
  3. Extreme hunger (random eating habits)
  4. Unintentional weight loss
  5. Fatigue
  6. Irritability
  7. Fruity-smelling breath
  8. Recurrent urinary tract infection
  9. Lethargy

The most common red flags amongst these are increased thirst and sudden drastic weight loss among growing children. Children exhibiting any concerning symptoms should get a screening test done at the onset.

A major hurdle in tackling juvenile diabetes is late diagnosis. Unchecked and poor management of diabetic care especially in children or young adults leads to faster progress of the disease and higher chance of complications compared to adults who are diagnosed with diabetes later in life.

Amidst all the checklists of things to do when your child or young family member is diagnosed with the condition, continuous blood glucose monitor tops the list. It aids in effective management of the condition and gives you a sense of control that if there is any fluctuation in glucose levels, you and healthcare practitioner can spring into a quick corrective action.

Innovative Technologies to include in your child's diabetes care plan

Being diagnosed with diabetes comes with a checklist of dos and don'ts to manage the condition. Eating well and exercising are priorities. Not missing insulin shots or medication, psychological and social support to keep the spirits up, and controlling glucose levels cover a significant chunk of diabetes care.

Diabetes for anyone, be it an adult or a youngster, requires constant monitoring .This can be particularly challenging, especially for a kid and the family member or parent taking care of the child. The first way to deal with this condition is to empower, inspire, and create a space for the child. They must be aware of the situation as the disease demands significant modifications in lifestyle.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices (CGM) are an option that can make these lifestyle management measures easier to implement. The latest CGM technology now has simplified the device to a small wearable sensor synced with wireless near-field readers. It is a minimally invasive wearable device that can painlessly track your child's glucose levels all day and night long. It reduces the burden of repetitive finger stick tests as that can be painful and uncomfortable for a child.

How does CGM help manage juvenile diabetes better?

For starters, the measurement is via a nearfield sensor so sleep time measurements become simpler and without disturbance. It also empowers and enables them to carry on with their life while have a real-time check on the state of their health. Coupled with counselling and in-depth education, this aids in designing a better treatment plan and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

With innovative technologies like continuous glucose monitoring devices combined with appropriate diabetes care regimen, the journey of diagnosis to management can become a little bit easier to navigate. Technology is creating new possibilities for management of chronic conditions such a diabetes by empowering the patient and giving them the tools to take control of their condition and their life, anytime, anywhere.

Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.