Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The silent killer

My grand mother suffered from diabetes for a very long period of time. I still remember my mother putting a syringe and a needle in the boiling water every day for sterilizing them and then later injecting my grandma with her life sustaining insulin dose. Even with insulin going in, she was not really able to enjoy life as she could not undergo enough exercise to burn calories because of her arthritis. She had to be on a strict diet and We very rarely saw her in indulging in any sweets or fried foods.

My father was diagnosed for the same ailment in his early fifties. He managed to control his blood sugar for few years with the help of medicines that had become available then. But after a decade of diabetes, he had to finally change over to insulin injections. My mother again was back at her duty of sterilization and injecting the life saving insulin now to my father. Till his death, my father had no choice but to take insulin and undergo strict regime of diet and exercise.

I would think that in spite of their life long battle with diabetes, my father and grandma have been the lucky once, because they never neglected the disease and took steps to keep it under control. I know few friends, who have been careless and had to pay a huge price for it. A friend of mine' who had high blood sugar levels, was very careless and always wore sandals in spite of repeated advice from his doctors. Later he had to get both of his legs progressively amputated because of gangrenes. He has become a complete invalid today. Wife of my another close friend, neglected her diabetes for several years. The result was that her optic nerve got affected and she lost her eyesight. These two examples really highlight the fact that if neglected, diabetes can really ruin your life forever.

As per the International Diabetes Federation, India is the diabetes capital of the world, with 40 million people living with diabetes with proper medicare. About 371 million people suffer from diabetes across the nation and half of the cases are undiagnosed. In the Indian state of Maharashtra, where I live, blood sugar levels are found to be high, surprisingly among youth, especially in the the age group of 25-35 years of age. Younger women in the age bracket of 30-35 years are found to be prone to diabetes because of sedentary lifestyle and wrong eating habits. A study conducted recently has found that that excessive consumption of oil, ghee,butter and cholesterol rich diet increases obesity and hypertension, which fuels chances of getting diabetes. By 2030, India will have the largest number of patients in the world. Diabetes is not only a blood sugar problem, but brings along other complications as well. Diabetes takes a severe toll on the heart too. The incidence of heart disease in India is increasing at a rapid rate. It was 1.09% in the 1950s, increased to 9.7 % in 1990, and 11% by year 2000.

The statistics from India are quite scary but when we consider the world and in particular the developing world, the picture becomes even more deadly. According to latest estimates diabetes Kills one person every six seconds and afflicts 382 million people around the world. By 2035, The number of people affected by the disease is expected to climb 55 percent to 592 million. 5.1 million people die annually because of the disease, with an average 10 million diabetes cases emerging every year. Every year, diabetes also leads to more than 1 million amputations, 500,000 kidney failures and 1.5 million cases of blindness.

Unfortunately, Four of every five people with diabetes are living in developing countries where they have fewer resources at hand to fight the disease. A report published in September 4 issue of, 'Journal of the American Medical Association' says that in China, recent figures showed that the epidemic being much worse than previously estimated. A study has found out that 12 percent of adults, or 114 million people, have the disease. 22 million diabetics, equivalent to the population of Australia, are added every year. That means that almost one in three diabetes sufferers globally, is in China.

It is therefore no exaggeration, when diabetes is called the silent killer. Everyone agrees that diabetes is a genetic disease and if one of your parent had it, the chances of your getting it are quite high. The cornerstone of prevention or at least control of diabetes is regular exercise, managing stress and healthy food habits. And if one of your parents had it, then you should be even more concerned or cautious about it.

20 November 2013

1 comment:

  1. As usual, your today's post is relevant. I wish to translate it in Marathi, subject to your permission and publish somewhere else so that many more readers can read it. Thanks.
    Mangesh Nabar