“Youth is the future. Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of the coming years that lie ahead of you.” – Swami Vivekananda
As we complete a decade, the one significant change that can be noticed is the difference in the lifestyle of youth. Prevalence of diseases and health conditions in the youth are increasing worldwide. Amongst all, the emergence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes amongst the Indian youth is rapid.
On National Youth Day, we discuss the rise of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the youth.
The onset of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Did you know the presence of diabetes in India, especially Type 2 diabetes, traditionally saw a significant increase when compared to the western population? It is increasing parallelly with the obesity epidemic. Hence, it is quite evident that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is escalating not only in the affluent groups of the society but also the middle and lower socioeconomic sections as well.
With the nation currently housing most of the youth, it is vital to pay attention to this epidemic. In India, youth living with type 2 diabetes blend with monogenic forms of diabetes such as malnutrition- modulated, fibrocalculous pancreatic, and maturity-onset diabetes, all of which are ketosis-resistant forms of youth-onset diabetes. Early monitoring can help in the early detection of youth-onset type 2 diabetes and the prevention of its complications. Another way that will help in primary prevention is the involvement of government and non-governmental agencies to focus on healthier lifestyles among children.
Factors leading to the emergence of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body becomes resistant and is unable to make use of it. This is why there is an increase in the sugar levels of a Type-2 diabetic. However, the factors that lead to this can be many, ranging from diet and obesity to genetic history. In such cases, the pancreas is functioning properly and hence making more insulin, but since the body is unable to use it, the organ eventually wears out. In some cases, it stops producing insulin.
The escalating rate of obesity amongst kids is cited as the primary reason for the sudden spike of pediatric type 2 diabetes cases. In fact, studies estimate every 1 in 5 school-age children is obese. However, obesity isn’t the only factor in the rise of childhood type 2 diabetes cases. The other factors could be gestational diabetes, less activity time for children, and change in food habits.
The future of the diabetes generation
Studies have indicated that having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of eye damage, nerve damage, kidney failure, and an ample of other problems. For instance, if a 10-year old child is diagnosed with diabetes and not taking care of it, the chances of eye and kidney damage are significantly higher, and he/she might go on dialysis or be blind
Research has seen an increase in microalbuminuria —a protein found in urine — indicating an increased risk of heart and kidney disease. In the last decade, the youth who saw the presence of microalbuminuria developed retinopathy or eye damage less than five years after diagnosis.
As mentioned above, there are multiple factors that can lead to diabetes; some avoidable, some unavoidable. The only thing that is in our control is to prevent getting into these unavoidable circumstances, and take care of our health. On National Yuva Day, let us all pledge to take good care of our health and overall well-being.