World Diabetes Day: India ranks second in global estimates of diabetes with 74 million affected


India has 74 million of the estimated 537 million diabetics in the world, making it the country with the second-highest number of people living with the endocrine malfunction disease. China has an estimated 140 million patients. The United States has an estimated 32 million living with diabetes. India also has 315 million people with high blood pressure.

As of 2021, according to the International Diabetes Federation, an estimated 537 million people had diabetes worldwide accounting for 10.5% of the adult population, with type 2 making up about 90% of all cases. It is estimated that by 2045, approximately 783 million adults, or 1 in 8, will be living with diabetes, representing a 46% increase from the current figures.

According to healthcare professionals, the culture of eating out, industrialization, rural-to-urban migration and other relevant factors make Indians more susceptible to diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is caused when pancreas does not produce enough insulin or body cannot use the insulin it produces. It can be treated and prevented by diet, exercise and medication.

Every year, World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 to mark the people who suffer from diabetes and prevent the delay of deaths caused by the disease.

This year, the theme is ‘Access to Diabetic Care’, which means providing required care for diabetic patients to support and manage their complications. It is also a day when increase in awareness, healthy practices and new medical treatments to cure diabetes are brought to light.

According to Praveen Kumar Kulkarni, Senior Consultant and Internal Medicine Specialist, KIMS Hospitals, Hyderabad, “Diabetes is a major cause of kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Diabetes may occur suddenly and can damage eyes, blood vessels, kidneys and nerves. It can also cause permanent vision loss by damaging the blood vessels in the eyes.”

He said, “The number has doubled over the past decade on account of risk factors such as overweight or obesity. Though insulin was discovered over 100 years ago, its access to people that require them is scarce. When people are educated about this disease, they can avoid certain lifestyle patterns that might result in this disease.”

G Sandeep Reddy, Consultant Endocrinologist, Kamineni Hospitals, said the symptoms of diabetes may occur suddenly.

“Usually, in Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms are mild and will take a longer time to notice. These include: feeling thirsty, needing to urinate, blurred vision, weight loss and feeling tired. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by insulin deficiency and it requires daily administration of insulin to track the severity of the disease. There were 9 million people with Type 1 diabetes in 2017, its means to prevent are still unknown.”

He said, “But Type 2 diabetes is different, it affects how your body used sugar for energy which stops the body from using insulin and leads to high level of blood sugar if not treated. Type 2 diabetes is preventable, recognizing the early signs can prevent the worst effects.”

According to Parveen Sultana, Consultant General Physician, Century Hospital, “There is also a gestational diabetes that occurs mostly during pregnancy. Women with this type of diabetes are at an increased risk of complications during birth. The child can also have an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the future. Gestational diabetes can be identified through prenatal screening rather than reporting symptoms. Lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent Type 2 diabetes.”

He said, “Keeping healthy body weight, exercising regularly for 30 minutes, eating healthy diet, avoiding sugars and tobacco. Early diagnosis is done though testing the blood glucose level. People with type 2 diabetes use certain injections such as metformin, inhibitors and sulfonylureas. Using foot care to treat ulcers, screening kidneys and eyes can help maintain health.”

Speaking about the treatment options for diabetes, Lingaiah Miryala, Consultant General Physician & Diabetologist, Amor Hospital, mentioned that early diagnosis is important to prevent the effects of type 2 diabetes. “Regular check-ups, blood tests can help recognize traces of diabetes in the body. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild, but they increase over time and may take several years to get noticed. The symptoms here are similar to type 1 diabetes but often less marked.

“As a result, the disease may be several years onset, but can be diagnosed only at a later stage. More than 90% of people have type 2 diabetes, it is also called non-insulin diabetes that is most observed in adults. But nowadays, young people are also having increased cases of diabetes,” Miryala said.

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