Myths about type 1 diabetes: Awareness and education : Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Myths about type 1 diabetes

Awareness and education

Kanungo, Alok1,2,

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Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 19(Suppl 1):p S24-S25, April 2015. | DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.155362
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Not all healthcare professionals (HCPs) are aware of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and some still issue prescriptions for T2DM with reference to T1DM. Various myths still exist in the society and amongst HCPs.

The biggest challenge in treating T1DM is that people do not understand the meaning of T1DM. It is commonly referred to as a bad type, sick type or sad type diabetes.

The medical challenge in treating T1DM is the confusion between T1DM and T2DM and its management which is very common and is observed with both general practitioners and parents of children with diabetes. The thought process is that administering injection is a highly technical job and is a painful procedure. Those on insulin therapy feel tend to feel discriminated against and experience more problems living with diabetes, less perceived support, a reduced sense of well-being, and a negative impact on relationships, work/studies, quality-of-life, finance, leisure, and psychosocial well-being.[1] In a study of approximately more than 300 children with T1DM it was observed that the children belonging to good or high family income background, whose parents (especially mothers) are educated the children are very well taken care whereas in cases where mothers are not educated the children are neglected. The children belonging to low family income background suffers because the mothers do not follow the teachings, which are given to them regarding the treatment. Therefore, the role of the mother is very important in treatment of their children suffering from diabetes. Medical management of diabetes needs to address education and psychosocial concerns.

There are multiple medical and social myths associated with diabetes, especially T1DM, prevalent in society. People think that they cannot be affected with diabetes. Diabetes management requires support and collaboration from family, school, and society, which is sometimes difficult, as they are more discouraging than positive.[2] In Orissa during a mid-day meal school program it was observed that the children complained that it is very difficult to take their mid-day dose because the teachers were preventing them from bringing insulin to school and taking their dose due to fear of it involving some risk. Therefore, it is becoming practically difficult where the children are not learning how to take the medication, especially if the children are small.

A lot of awareness has been created through advertorials on T1DM in leading newspapers and journals, which included Times of India, The Week and Smart Life. Media persons also were invited to key events to sensitize them on key issues related to children with T1DM. Leaflets for counseling parents were made and distributed in 10 languages, which were found to be really helpful. Mishti Guardian, a newsletter for parents, will be released shortly for education of parents regarding diabetes so that they are aware of their responsibilities.

In a study, girls below 18 years were recruited and after they had reached their marriageable age it was found that it became difficult for them to get married as their parents and in-laws came up with lots of queries about the future of these girls. Hence, these newsletters will address these aspects and more programs on awareness will be organized. Talking about diabetes in school via a campaign has started. More than 20 advertorials are released for creating awareness about diabetes.

By the activities of the Changing Diabetes in Children (CDiC) program in India, a new movement has taken place where diabetes has got coverage in many regional newspapers which is really encouraging people and corporates to extend their help for these children suffering from diabetes. Posters, leaflets and newsletters are being also released for awareness about diabetes and these should reach the right target population so that they can understand and make right use of such information.

Launch of “talking diabetes in school” campaign is a very important aspect to create awareness about diabetes in children for school teachers. Five E-mail will be sent to each school regarding diabetes and responsibilities of the school staff. CDiC can join the district teacher's congregation and provide them information regarding their responsibilities and every government official shall agree for that.


For a better world for all children with diabetes every step makes a difference. Five years back the condition in India was as good but now CDiC has become a hope center with 4000–5000 children getting treated regularly. Educational support is also provided to these children about diabetes.


1. Kalra S, Baruah MP. Discrimination and diabetes: Insight from the second Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs (DAWN2) Study J Soc Health Diabetes. 2015;3:56–7
2. Kumar KM, Azad K, Zabeen B, Kalra S. Type 1 diabetes in children: Fighting for a place under the sun Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;16(Suppl 1):S1–3

Source of Support: Nil

Conflict of Interest: None declared.


Changing Diabetes in Children; myths; type 1 diabetes mellitus

© 2015 Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism | Published by Wolters Kluwer – Medknow