Eshaan perhaps is a fitting example on both Children’s Day and World Diabetes Day (November 14) of how he struggled with the disease and fought it.
“I was in Standard VII at Vidya Bhavan school when I fell ill. I have been swimming since the age of five and won several competitions. While I could not understand what was wrong then, my parents were taken aback when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” Eshaan recalled.
Eshaan has been selected by the Diabetes Care and Research Foundation for this year’s award for bravely dealing with diabetes.
Dr Abhay Mutha, founder of Diabetes Care and Research Foundation — that has adopted 200 such children with juvenile diabetes — said Type 1 diabetes is not hereditary. “In most cases it can occur due to a viral infection that damages pancreas. In any urban setting at least 14 per cent of the population suffers from Type 2 diabetes. Out of this 4-5 lakh population at least 8-9 per cent are children living with juvenile diabetes.”
Children have to take insulin shots four times a day before meals and regulate their lifestyle to avoid any complications, Mutha said. After a year’s gap, Eshaan got back on track and started swimming for a minimum six hours, completed his schooling and is now studying science at Fergusson College.
Mutha’s foundation has also provided him with an insulin pump which costs around Rs 2-3 lakh so that once fitted on a fatty area of the stomach, the child can get insulin by just pressing a button. “I have to monitor my sugar levels and am used to it by now,” Eshaan said.
The majority of children however cannot afford costly insulin pumps and have to take four insulin shots daily before meals. Ten-year-old Prafulla Bansode was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was nine months old. Prafulla’s mother Rekha recalled that he was unwell for a long time and she had to give up her job to look after him. After treatment at KEM hospital’s diabetes unit, Prafulla is now used to taking insulin shots, Rekha said.
Doctors say it is essential to keep the diet healthy, engage in moderate physical activity, take medication and ensure regular medical check up.