Diabetes On The Rise In Youth: Here’s What Government Data Suggests

The alarming rise of youth being diagnosed with diabetes in India has triggered critical warnings among families and health organisations

You are mistaken if you are under the assumption that type 2 diabetes is the illness of an elderly person. More and more children have been falling victim to this disease over the past decades, and there seems to be no way of ending it.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic condition characterized by abnormally elevated blood glucose levels (blood sugar). The body is unable to correctly process food for use as energy in people suffering from diabetes.

Let’s put it this way, much of the food that we consume transforms into glucose or sugar that is used for energy by our body. To help glucose infiltrate into the body’s cells, the pancreas releases a hormone called ‘insulin’.

The body doesn’t make enough or any insulin at times. As a consequence, glucose (or sugar) remains in the blood and causes health issues over time. “This is why many people refer to “sugar” as diabetes.

In a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwin Kumar Choubey answers about the “Rise Of Diabetes Cases In Youth” and other queries. 

  • Whether the number of diabetes patients, especially among the younger population, has increased drastically

As per the International Diabetes Federation, the estimated number of diabetes patients and juvenile diabetes patients in India are as under:

The Government of India with the support from UNICEF has conducted the first-ever  Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) during the year 2016 to 2018 in 30 States.

As per the survey report, the prevalence of diabetes was low among both children (1.2%) and adolescents (0.7%). However, 10.3% of school-age children (5-9 years) and 10.4% of adolescents (10-19 years) were found as pre-diabetic based on fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c levels in the blood.

  • Whether the government has developed any indigenous system of medicine for the prevention of diabetes and, if so, the details thereof

As per information received from “Central Council for Research in Siddha(CCRS)”, a
research project titled “ open labelled randomized controlled clinical trial on impaired glucose tolerance – IGT (Muneerizhivu) with Thiriphala chooranam showed a significant effect for pre-diabetes “

What are other steps being taken by the Government to prevent and treat the spread of diabetes, especially in rural areas?

Public Health is a state subject. However, the central government is complementing the efforts of the state governments.

Under the National Health Mission (NHM), the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) is being introduced with a focus on infrastructure enhancement, human resource development, health promotion & knowledge generation, early diagnosis, management and referral to a suitable care institution.

Under the NPCDCS, 677 NCD Clinics at District level and 4467 NCD Clinics at Community Health Centre level were developed to address the challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases. Prevention, monitoring and screening program for emerging non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (diabetes, hypertension and common cancers, such as oral breast and cervical cancer) has also been carried out under NHM as part of comprehensive primary healthcare.

Under this program, among other items, frontline health workers such as Certified Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) are leveraged to screen and raise awareness among the masses about the risk factors of NCDs. About 219 districts around the country are currently implementing the initiative.

Screening for common NCDs including diabetes is also an integral part of service delivery under Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres. Under NHM, funding for primary and secondary health care needs is provided to States/UTs through their Program Implementation Plans(PIPs).

Government hospital care is either free or heavily subsidized for the poor and vulnerable. Under the National Health Mission, in public health facilities, critical medicines and diagnostics are given at no cost.

Quality generic medicines are being made available at affordable prices to all, under
“Jan Aushadhi Scheme in collaboration with the State Governments.

Also, 212 AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment) Pharmacy stores have been set up in hospitals, where essential life saying medicines including for diabetes are being provided at a substantial discount vis-à-vis the Maximum Retails Price.

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