A Type-I diabetic paediatrician counsels children, parents at the Indian Medical Association hall in Madurai

Eleven-year-old R. Vanmathi is the daughter of a male nurse, 15-year-old L. Surendar’s father is a farmer and 16-year-old V. Aishwarya is born to a two-wheeler mechanic. What is common among them, apart from being school students, is that all of them are Type-I or juvenile diabetics surviving on injection of external insulin daily.

Asked how he manages to bear the expenditure, Ms. Aishwarya’s father B.T. Venkatesh, said: “Money is not a matter. I can always earn. What matters is the mental agony that I and my wife have been undergoing ever since my daughter was diagnosed of diabetes when she was 13 years old. A few years from now, I have to get her married. As a father, that is bothering me more.”

He was one among many parents who had come along with their diabetic children to a counselling session organised by V. Kumaravel, Director of Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, at the Indian Medical Association hall here on Saturday.

The aim of the meet was to motivate the participants and make them realise that diabetic children could also be achievers and they were in no way inferior to normal children.

Addressing the gathering, paediatrician S. Vanitha, herself a Type-I diabetic, said that she was a live example of what children with diabetics could achieve. “Every one takes food and we also take food. The only difference is that we take a small injection before food. Why should we feel low about that or consider it to be a disgrace? It is high time we changed our mindset,” she stressed.

Endocrinologist Krishnan Swaminathan pointed out that celebrities like actor Kamal Haasan and cricketer Wasim Akram had achieved great heights despite being Type-I diabetics. Mr. Kumaravel said that urinating frequently, drinking water more frequently than others and feeling hungry very often were some of the symptoms of Type-I diabetes which could be diagnosed by a simple blood sugar level test.

“The textbook age for diagnosis is somewhere between two and 20 though we have detected it even in newborns. However, it is not an issue at all since we now have advanced equipment such as insulin pens and pumps. In fact, I had put Dr. Vanitha on an insulin pump for seven months of her pregnancy and she delivered a baby without any hassle,” he said infusing hope among those who need it the most.

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