Counselling and guidance are necessary to provide youth with Type 1 Diabetes with the confidence that a good marital life is indeed possible for them, according to a study conducted at the M.V.Hospital for Diabetes and Prof. M.Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre, Royapuram.

The study showed that all the female participants with Type 1 Diabetes and 82 per cent of male participants were worried about getting married.

About 86 per cent of women and 56 per cent of men in the study group felt they will not be able to fulfil their partner's expectations.

When it came to enjoying a good sex life, 90 per cent of the males and 56 per cent of female participants had the perception that they would not be able to perform.

All the female participants and 72 per cent of males felt they could not have healthy children, and that their offspring would also be diabetic.

“Type 1 Diabetes is the most challenging disorder for children. They are mostly diagnosed between 5 and 15 years, and in rare instances, even in the first year after birth,” Vijay Viswanathan, MD, MV Hosptial for Diabetes, explains.

“They have to be off sweets and on insulin shots right through. The condition can be very traumatic, not only for the child, but also for the family.”

The study was executed through a questionnaire that sought to test the emotional well-being, concepts of marriage and conception among the participants. Most participants had lived with diabetes for a minimum of 10 years, and were of marriageable age.

“In many instances, their self-esteem was really low. This reflects on their impressions of marriage and procreation as well,” Dr. Viswanathan adds.

While men with Type 1 Diabetes believe that they are sure to have erectile dysfunction, women are afraid that their pregnancy would affect the baby. Both are myths, he explains. Complications are likely in pregnancy, but with appropriate medication and control of blood sugar, women can have a normal delivery, and a normal baby.

Premarital counselling helps in such instances, says the study articulated as a research paper in the journal of Tamil Nadu Association of Physicians of India. Counselling should also address issues such as disclosure of condition to the partner, arrangement of finances, planning pregnancy, parenting and social activities.

There is hardly any pre-marital counselling in India, but for people who have Type 1 Diabetes, it is essential to provide such services. Diabetologists can take the lead, or counselling support staff attached to health care institutions, he added.

Keywords: Type 1 Diabetes

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