Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently diagnosed with the disease. In 2000, India (31.7 million) topped the world with the highest number of people with diabetes mellitus followed by China (20.8 million) with the United States (17.7 million) in second and third place respectively.
It is predicted that by 2030 diabetes mellitus may afflict up to 79.4 million individuals in India, while China (42.3 million) and the United States (30.3 million) will also see significant increases in those affected by the disease.
Diabetes: It starts with Education and Awareness
Being proactively aware about management of diabetes is imperative in order to take preventive measures and limit the damage it causes. This involves scaling up prevention of diabetes, strengthening care and enhancing the surveillance of diabetes across the world.
Increasing number of diabetes cases among children is now becoming a bigger concern and hence it is necessary to promote healthy and active lifestyle among both children as well as adults for better diabetes management. There is a growing need to educate the masses about the risk factors of diabetes, the complications involved right from the preliminary to the advanced stage and what preventive steps can be taken by people in everyday life to limit diabetes cases in India.
In order to control diabetes and promote diabetes care, diabetes educators can help focus towards spreading awareness and education about diabetes among masses and answer their queries, especially for those living in remote areas where medical facilities, awareness and even measuring devices like glucometer are not easily available. This is necessary in urban cities too like in schools among children to prevent early onset of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes – Accounts for only 5- 10% of all Diabetic cases. Here, our body stops producing any insulin – a hormone responsible for converting glucose to energy. This typically develops in children (Juvenile Diabetes) or young adults, but may occur at a later stage as well. People with Type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent and therefore have to take insulin injections frequently.
Type 2 Diabetes – Accounts for 90% of the total population. This occurs mainly with age in people who are overweight and have for long not led a healthy lifestyle comprising a balance of nutrition and physical activity. Type 2 Diabetes is due to insulin deficiency or insulin resistance in the body.
During pregnancy, women without any history of Diabetes in the family, may develop high blood glucose usually around the 24th week – this is referred to as Gestational diabetes. This diabetes may or may not continue after pregnancy but it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy. Also, women with Gestational Diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 Diabetes later in life.
Sugar test helps to analyze the previous patterns of sugar levels and consult experts for better treatment.
Diabetes can be prevented
WHO has laid down certain basic guidelines which every person can easily follow on a daily basis in order to prevent diabetes:
- It all begins with a healthy diabetic diet which is low in sugar and saturated fats and helps prevent type 2 diabetes. This further helps diabetics in managing and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels both in case of type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
- Staying active and exercising daily for 30 minutes is absolutely necessary along with moderate activity throughout the day. A sedentary lifestyle is the enemy of a diabetic person.
- Symptoms for all kinds of diabetes include thirst, hunger, weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision. However, at times symptoms are not clearly evident. It is important to keep a regular track of your blood sugar levels by using a glucometer which connects to an Android diabetes management app and operates from the comfort of your home.