ICMR releases guidelines for type-1 diabetes patients

The ICMR guidelines come at a time when the threat from the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, and those with diabetes are still at risk.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Jun 18, 2022 | 4:18 PMUpdatedJul 21, 2022 | 5:13 PM

The ICMR guidelines come at a time when the threat from the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, and those with diabetes are still at risk. (Creative Commons)

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has come up with guidelines for type-1 diabetes patients.

It is the first time that guidelines for type-1 diabetes patients are being released.

Before this, the ICMR had released guidelines for those with type-2 diabetes.

The guidelines come at a time when the threat from the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, and those with diabetes are still at risk.

The comprehensive document provides a detailed set of advice on precaution, nutrition insights on comorbidities and disease management in children, adolescents and adults with type-1 diabetes.

The ICMR guidelines say India is home to the world’s second-largest adult diabetes population, and every sixth person with diabetes in the world is Indian.

The past three decades witnessed a 150-percent increase in the number of people with diabetes in the country.

According to Thiruvananthapuram-based consultant endocrinologist Dr RV Jayakumar, the guidelines have come at a very crucial time because new health challenges have risen after the pandemic, and type-1 diabetes is one of them.

What is type-1 diabetes?

Type-1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that allows blood sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy in the body.

Who is at risk?

It occurs in children between five to seven years of age and at or near puberty.

The peak incidence of T1DM is seen at 10-14 years of age.

As per the ICMR guidelines, genetic factors play a significant role in determining the vulnerability of a person to get type-1 diabetes.

When a mother has it, there is a 3 percent chance of the child having the disease. It is 5 percent when the father has it, and 8 percent when a sibling has it.

Why is it important?

According to the Diabetes Atlas of the International Diabetes Federation, over 10 lakh children and adolescents are currently living with type-1 diabetes in the world, with India accounting for the highest share.

India, the number of diagnoses of type-1 diabetes in children is increasing. This hints at the following:

  • The actual frequency of type-1 diabetes is increasing in the country.
  • Early and better diagnosis of type-1 diabetes among children is taking place.
  • There is increasing awareness about the condition.


The following are the symptoms of type-1 diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger,
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Change in behaviour
  • Fruity-smelling breath

Chennai-based diabetologist Dr Haridas P told South First, “The management of the disease is a tedious task as it is a self-managed condition, specifically in cases of children.”

Parents and family must constantly check the health status of the child, he added.

Checking blood sugar levels, he said, “must be done before and after the child goes out and comes back from any physical activity.”

He added: “During school hours and travel time, the diabetic individual must carry sources of glucose such as glucose powder and biscuits, and a kit containing devices such as an insulin pump and a blood glucose metre.”


As per the 173-page ICMR guideline, precautionary measures include:

Blood-glucose monitoring to predict glycemic control must be in daily practice.

In young children, especially those with poor glycemic control, the frequency of daily Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) might range from four to six times per day.

The guideline states that the insulin vials should be wrapped in plastic and placed in a cold thermos flask that should always be stored in the personal luggage at the time of travel.

The treatment for type-1 diabetic patients includes taking insulin, monitoring blood sugar, sticking to a prescribed diet, and exercising.