Events >> Annual Meeting of Type-1 Diabetes

Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
Christian Medical College, Vellore
First Annual Meeting of Type 1 Diabetes

The management of chronic diseases is a long drawn process where patient participation is paramount in not only achieving treatment goal, but also improves the quality of their life. We, in the Department of Endocrinology, CMC, Vellore are managing many people with type 1 diabetes who need Insulin. Almost all including their family members find it hard to cope with the burden of having diabetes at a very young age along with taking insulin injections lifelong. They often feel cursed and lonely. Why is it that tough? One of the main reasons is that, any deviation from the desired behavior modification of food, work and physical activity will impact the disease. This affects their self care and forms a significant barrier in attaining the therapeutic goals.

One of the ways of improving the care has been to create support group meets involving the patients and their relatives. The objective of the meet is to improve their knowledge and remove some of their myths and misconceptions. In this endeavor, we decided to organize the first yearly meet of all patients with type 1 diabetes above the age of 15 years including teenagers and young adults, who are attending our specialized adult young diabetes clinic on Wednesday. They are united by the same condition. On 24th May, 2014 fifty patients along with their family members joined us in the meet. We started the meet with a healthy balanced diet provided by our department of dietetics of CMC suited for the patients and their family members.

All the patients with their family members gathered inside the C.K.Job hall. The session was started by introductory address by Associate professor Dr. Asha and diabetes educator Mercy. Prof .Nihal Thomas, Head of Endocrinology addressed the gathering and introduced our chief guest Principal Prof. Alfred Job Daniel. Prof Daniel spoke about the concept of support group meetings and its benefits in managing chronic illness like diabetes, people with paraplegia, AIDS, arthritis etc. He said that the idea of creating support groups of people sharing a common disease was started in the western countries and not common in India. He informed the audience about the benefit that the patients and their family members provide each other during such meetings. It helps in understanding the disease better and coping with the disease burden and hence reduces the barriers in management. He also highlighted the need to encourage each other and follow the treatment advice provided by the doctors. After the address, Dr. Asha encouraged all the patients to introduce themselves - they ranged from students, manual labourers, tailors, teachers, engineers and professors. After the introduction, patients were invited to talk about their concerns both medical and social issues.

Educator Mrs Mercy and Dr.Mahesh conducted the interactive education session in Tamil, English and Hindi over a period of one hour. The highlights of education were informing them about various aspects of diabetes and its complications along with the burden of disease in the entire world with special importance to our country. The key messages conveyed to the patients and family members were:

  • Diabetes is a long term journey in which we are united as a team in management
  • You are not alone
  • Your motivation is your goal
  • Our goal is to ensure that your goals are attained.
  • Insulin is needed to provide energy; and like air, water and food is needed for survival.

Further during the education, the concept of four pillars of diabetes management namely healthy balanced diet, regular exercises, taking insulin injections and regular monitoring were stressed. A significant part of the education session was dedicated to discussing about the various aspects a healthy diet. Patients were informed about the need for incorporating balanced proportions of carbohydrates, fat and proteins while preparing food. The family members were informed about the need to understand the concept of meal pattern, frequency, quality and quantity of food.

After the education session diabetes educators Flory, Shirley, Divya and social workers John and Jerry distributed the questionnaire addressing hypoglycemia and the quality of life. Dr. Asha and Dr. Felix conducted the questionnaire session where patients and their family members were encouraged to express their concerns.

In the end, the key goal of support group to encourage interaction, build friendships and convey the message of unity in managing diabetes was successfully achieved.