In the last one decade, the number of diabetes patients in India increased by over 30 million due to sedentary lifestyle and erratic schedule mostly common in the age group of 20-40 years, said the country’s leading diabetic experts on Monday.
Their statistics stated that in the early 2000, there were around 31.7 million persons diagnosed with diabetes and by 2015, the figure increased to 62 million.
“This change is due to the erratic food timings, sleep, unhealthy lifestyle, physical inactivity and other erratic patterns of lifestyle. Such changes in lifestyle leads to insulin resistance wherein body does not use insulin properly,” said Abhay Vispute, Diabetologist at Mumbai-based SRV Hospital.
Though genetic factors contributed to diabetes, Vispute said: “Urban migration and obesity due to rising social standards were the other reasons.”
India has been declared as the “world diabetic capital”, with cases to touch 70 million by 2025.
“Not only youngsters, even children between the age group of 12-16 years are detected with Type 2 diabetes. It is essential that they understand the importance of modifying their lifestyle, also, for those who are detected with diabetes, their siblings or children must also conduct regular check-ups,” said Tejas Shah, Diabetologist at the Holy Spirit Hospital, Mumbai.
The experts also said that 10 per cent of the pre-diabetic patients become diabetes patients every year.
Pradeep Gadge, Chief Diabetologist at Gadge Diabetes Centre, said an increase of 31 million among diabetes patients within 15 years was alarming.
“Diabetes at such a young age means lifelong struggle to keep it under control. It is essential to take appropriate measures. Simple ways to take measures against diabetes includes, avoiding junk food, following an active lifestyle, keep check on weight and conduct tests at periodic intervals,” said Gadge.
World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14. Noticing lack of awareness and delay in diagnosis among the patients, Delhi-based Primus hospital recently created a record by screening 900 patients in eight hours.
“It is essential for diabetic patients to not only monitor their blood sugar level but other diabetes inflicted health problems also,” said Ashok Jhingan, a senior diabetologist at Primus Super Speciality Hospital.
Experts have also raised concerns on the rising cases of blindness due to the diabetic retinopathy caused by diabetes.
“Diabetes can cause many health problems, especially when it is severe and not in control. One of the serious conditions is called diabetic retinopathy, and is one of the foremost causes of blindness,” said Siddarth Sain, Ophthalmologist at Sharp Sight Group of Eye Hospitals, Delhi.
According to Sain, with an increase in duration of diabetes, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases.
“At least 80 per cent of people suffering from diabetes for more than 15 years have some damage in blood vessels of the retina. Severe and uncontrolled diabetes, fluctuating blood sugar levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol and diabetic kidney are all conditions which predispose a diabetic to develop changes in the retina,” said Sain.
Kamal B. Kapur, another leading Delhi-based Ophthalmologist said: “Diabetic retinopathy can weaken and cause changes in the small retinal blood vessels. These blood vessels may then begin to leak or swell or develop brush-like branches.”
“This deterioration of the retinal blood vessels causes hindrance in the supply of oxygen and nutrition needed by the retina to remain healthy,” he added.
“Early stages of this condition may cause symptoms like blurred vision. As the disease progresses, one may notice cloudiness of vision, blind spots, floaters or even sudden loss of vision,” he said.