World Diabetes Day: Diabetes reduces life expectancy by 4 to 10 years: Experts

Diabetes is a major cause of chronic diseases like blindness, stroke, lower limb amputation, heart attacks, kidney failures and infections.

World Diabetes Day: Diabetes reduces life expectancy by 4 to 10 years: Experts
It is important to make people aware about the importance of insulin therapy during diabetes treatment.

Diabetes reduces life expectancy by 4 to 10 years and increases the risk of death due to other co-morbidities associated with diabetes, according to experts. These co-morbidities include heart attacks, kidney failures and infections.

Dr A Ramachandran, President, India Diabetes Research Foundation, & Chairman, Dr A Ramachandran’s Diabetes Hospitals Chennai, “The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the vulnerability of people with diabetes. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of COVID-19 and death especially those with those suffering from diabetes-related complications. The risk is also enhanced due to social conditions in disadvantaged communities who have minimal access to healthcare. In India, the first step to breaking these barriers is to make healthcare accessible and affordable for the general population. Along with this, we must educate people about managing their diabetes on a day-to-day basis.”

Diabetes is one of the major global concern, which is now turning into an epidemic with more than 463 million adults affected by diabetes. It has nearly quadrupled since past two decades, growing from 4.7% to 8.5%.

Dr CH Vasanth Kumar, Senior Consultant Physician at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, “According to the ninth edition of International Diabetes Federation’s ‘Diabetes Atlas’, nearly 134.3 million people in India are expected to have diabetes. Diabetes complications are looming large with one out of every ten adults being diagnosed with diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in blood, the lack of insulin causes diabetes. So, it is important to make people aware about the importance of insulin therapy during diabetes treatment. Insulin therapy helps prevent diabetes complications by keeping your blood sugar within your target range.

Diabetes is also a major cause of chronic diseases like blindness, stroke and lower limb amputation. It is today affecting 74 million people in India thereby making India the ‘Diabetes Capital’ of the world. According to experts, it is sharply rising in rural and urban India due to change in lifestyle and eating habits.  So, there is an immediate need to pay attention to the growing concerns about the health threats posed by this.

Dr C S Yajnik, Director of the Diabetes Unit, King Edward Memorial Hospital and Research Centre in Pune said, “Diabetes is brought on by unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and stress in people which are predisposed. Predisposition can be partly genetic for which there is no treatment. Recent research has shown that predisposition can also come from undernutrition when growing in the mother’s womb or pregnancy diabetes. These two conditions are in plenty in India, and may be prevented or treated effectively. If we improve the nutrition and metabolism of the young, it will benefit not only them but also their children. This will fulfill the dream of ‘Swastha Bharat’. On the World Diabetes Day which is also the Children’s Day, let us pledge to improve the health of the young.

Dr. Sushil Jindal, eminent Endocrinologist and Diabetologist of Central India said, “India ranks second for the highest diabetic population in the world, with one in every six diabetics in the world being an Indian. It is one of the very few metabolic diseases which can affect nearly every organ system in the body. Targeting the right people at the right time with the right course of treatment, we can prevent at least a third of people from developing severe complications from the disease. One important aspect that could help realise the superior level of patient-care is the easy availability of health records. Digital solutions, such as HealthPlix’s AI-powered EMR software, give clinicians a longitudinal view of patient health information, ensuring continuity of care for chronic conditions such as T2DM. I think that with the correct use of such digital technologies, we will be able to not only develop a deeper connection with our patients, but also drive better health outcomes for conditions like diabetes, which require continual monitoring, by giving treatment anywhere, at any time.’’

According to Dr Anil Bhoraskar, Senior Diabetologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim & Secretary, Diabetic Association of India (Scientific Section), “Management of Diabetes has changed considerably over the past decade. It primarily depends on the factors causing the illness. For instance, in medical terminology, it is known as the ‘dirty dozen’, and these can be intervened at 12 stages. Today, excellent injectable drugs such as GLP 1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide) agonist are now available in the market that act at various crucial levels to enhance the action of Endogenous Insulin, making it more efficient. This is an excellent step in managing Diabetes and bettering public health.”

According to the World Health Organization, globally, 3.9 million people suffer from moderate or severe distance vision impairment or blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that affects eyes that can lead to blindness.

Commenting on this, Dr. Ajay Dudani, CEO and Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Mumbai Retina Centre said, “Young diabetics today, are more aware of the diseases and the treatment, but they are unable to control their blood glucose levels owing to their current lifestyle. Today, modern medical treatment protocols can slow or even stop the progression of diabetic retinopathy, thus preventing vision loss in people with diabetes.”

Talking further on this, Dr. Aditya Sudhalkar, Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Sudhalkar Eye Hospital and Retina Centre added, “Working adults are increasingly falling prey to Type-2 diabetes, a disease with a genetic basis that is heavily influenced by a person’s lifestyle. Approximately 7-10% of young diabetics will go on to develop diabetic retinopathy, of which 2-4% will have vision threatening sequelae if not taken proper treatment. This disease affects working individuals in more ways than one way, as it compromises visual acuity, especially reading ability and facial recognition, there by hampering social/professional interaction.”


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