The World Health Organization reports that India has the second highest number of people with diabetes in the world, after China. In 2021, it was estimated that there were 101 million people with diabetes in India, and this number is expected to rise to 164 million by 2045.
A study conducted by Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in collaboration with ICMR and Union Health Ministry highlights the states with the highest prevalence of diabetes: Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The states with the lowest prevalence of diabetes include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by persistently high blood sugar levels. Our bodies produce glucose as a source of energy from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, plays a crucial role in breaking down glucose and helps the body use it for energy. However, in diabetes, there is either insufficient insulin production or the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels and the development of diabetes.
Diabetes in the long run can cause other clinical complications and make the existing conditions difficult to deal with.
Types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, is a chronic autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood or adolescence, although it can develop at any age. It accounts for approximately 5-10% of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for around 90-95% of all diabetes cases worldwide. It typically occurs in adults, but it can also affect children and adolescents, especially those who are overweight or obese.
Prediabetes is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is considered a warning sign that indicates an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It develops when a woman’s body is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the increased demands of pregnancy. It typically occurs in the second or third trimester and resolves after childbirth.
It is to be noted that Prediabetes and Gestational diabetes are completely reversible with proper treatment plans.
Diabetes is most prevalent in adults aged 45 years and older. However, the number of children and adolescents with diabetes is also rising in India.
Common symptoms of diabetes, irrespective of the type, includes:
- Polyuria (frequent urination)
- Polydipsia (increase in thirst)
- Polyphagia (a rise in appetite)
- Persistent tiredness, lack of energy and decreased motivation
- Unexplained significant weight loss or weight gain
- Frequent infections
- Slow wound healing
- Unexplained irritability / mood swings
Impact of Diabetes on Health
Diabetes can have a significant impact on a person’s health.
Cardiovascular complications: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Nerve damage (neuropathy): High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, leading to symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain, typically in the hands and feet. This condition is known as diabetic neuropathy.
Kidney damage (nephropathy): Diabetes can affect the kidneys and impair their ability to filter waste products from the blood. Over time, this can lead to kidney disease or even kidney failure.
Eye complications: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to various eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina), cataracts, and glaucoma. If left untreated, these complications can result in vision loss or blindness.
Mental health issues: Living with diabetes can also impact mental health. The constant management of the condition, stress related to blood sugar control, and the potential impact on daily life can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and emotional distress.
Managing diabetes through lifestyle modifications, medication, and regular medical care can help minimize the impact of the condition on health.
Following are some of the key aspects of diabetes management:
Blood sugar monitoring: Regularly checking blood sugar levels using a glucose meter allows individuals to understand how their bodies respond to different foods, activities, and medications. It helps in making informed decisions about diet, physical activity, and medication adjustments.
Medications and insulin therapy: Depending on the type and severity of diabetes, medication may be prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels. This can include oral medications, injectable medications, or insulin therapy. It’s important to take medications as prescribed and regularly communicate with healthcare professionals about their effectiveness and any side effects.
Regular medical check-ups: Routine medical check-ups are important for monitoring overall health and identifying any potential complications or changes in diabetes management. This includes regular visits to healthcare professionals, eye examinations, dental check-ups, and screenings for conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Healthy eating: Following a well-balanced diet is crucial for managing diabetes. This typically involves consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Portion control and monitoring carbohydrate intake are particularly important for regulating blood sugar levels.
To know more about healthy eating options that are diabetic friendly, check out Optimizing Diabetes Management: The Role of Food Selection.
Regular physical activity: Engaging in regular exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and promotes weight management. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen.
Education and self-care: Learning about diabetes, its management, and self-care techniques is crucial for long-term success. This includes understanding the effects of food, exercise, medications, and stress on blood sugar levels, as well as proper techniques for insulin administration (if applicable).
Support system: Building a strong support system with healthcare professionals, family members, friends, or diabetes support groups can provide emotional support, information sharing, and motivation for managing diabetes effectively.
With proper management, individuals with diabetes can lead fulfilling lives and minimize the impact of diabetes on their overall health. Remember, each person’s diabetes journey is unique, and it’s important to tailor management plans to individual needs. It’s crucial for individuals with diabetes to work closely with diabetologists and related health professionals to control blood sugar levels, monitor potential complications, and adopt a healthy lifestyle to optimize their overall well-being.
To create a personalized diabetes management plan or to adjust an existing one, you can rely on the expertise of PonMalligai Multispecialty Hospital. Our dedicated team at diabetology care is committed to provide comprehensive care and support to help you navigate the challenges of diabetes and achieve long-term wellness.