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Why young people in their thirties develop diabetes early and silently. Why should we filter them.

Mumbai is a city with a heavy burden of non-communicable diseases. That’s why Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducts door-to-door survey every year, especially in slums, for early detection and treatment of diabetes, hypertension and blood pressure. . Now, after COVID-19, the civic body plans to resume surveying the over 30 age group for blood pressure and diabetes. Indeed, more and more young people are being diagnosed with diabetes, seemingly without telltale symptoms.

Do you see young people in their thirties being diagnosed with diabetes?

A new trend is emerging where we are seeing younger patients being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, both men and women in this age group have reported a host of complications at the time of diagnosis, including vascular disease .

Do you think it is necessary to carry out door-to-door surveys to detect undiagnosed patients?

Several cases are reported late due to the absence of symptoms, which are very often mild and neglected. Diabetes is usually diagnosed during pre-employment/pre-operative examinations. Which means they wouldn’t have taken the test unless they had to. Hence the need for early detection. If we can diagnose patients early, it can stop complications and improve their quality of life.

Why does this age group develop diabetes at an early stage? Does it have something to do with their lifestyle, eating habits, sleep patterns, and work-related stresses?

There are several reasons. The first is the flawed lifestyle they have been exposed to since childhood. They did not engage in vigorous physical activity or physical training even during childhood. All of this has led to a “burger and cola culture,” especially among young children. These are signs of the current altered lifestyle, which begins with their school days. Most children eat a high-fat diet with a prolonged lack of omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important for the growing years. Also, due to peer pressure, kids eat a lot of fast food and eat very few meals at home. This has long term effects on their health. In addition, the consumption of too many carbonated drinks and energy-dense milkshakes worsens their parameters. All these lifestyle changes have led to an increase in type 2 diabetes cases, especially among younger generations.

Is there a clinical difference between diabetes detected in younger and older age groups?

There is a clear difference between being diagnosed with diabetes at age 50 and being diagnosed at age 30. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes at a younger age, it leads to heart complications. In addition, kidney function is affected in younger diabetic patients, which again affects their quality of life. Also, when both parents have type 2 diabetes at a young age, the risk of their child developing type 1 diabetes is much higher.

What should the younger age group do to avoid diabetes?

Young people should be encouraged to participate in various types of physical sports. In fact, it should become a compulsory discipline in school curricula with grades awarded and taken into account for student assessment. These grades should also be considered as merit for admission into colleges. Additionally, children should be discouraged from spending time in front of a screen, whether on their cell phone or TV. In addition, all family members must have a meal together, where all cells are turned off.

Children should be encouraged to use bicycles, especially when traveling short distances. Another great tip is to encourage teens to use the stairs as much as possible to help them stay active and have long-term favorable health. Finally, all parties for children and teenagers should not take place in restaurants but in playgrounds and schools, where the emphasis should be on clean and healthy eating.

What should be the role of the authorities?

State and national governments, as well as the education system, should be proactive in promoting good nutrition and an appropriate lifestyle, especially among young students.

Why this doctor?

Dr. Anil Bhoraskar, Senior Diabetologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, is also Secretary of Diabetic Association of India (Scientific Section).

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