World Diabetes Day: People in 30s at risk

Deccan Chronicle.  | Kaniza Garari

Nation, Current Affairs

WHO prequalification of medicines is a service provided by WHO to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products.

65 million people,who suffer from type 2 diabetes in the world, need insulin, according to a WHO release. Yet, only half of them can access it because of high prices.

Hyderabad: Experts speaking ahead of the World Diabetes Day, which is observed on November 14, said that people in their 30s are developing diabetes, putting a burden on social, medical and financial services in managing the disease.

The early onset of diabetes leads to early complications in kidney, heart and eyes, which requires proper medical management and financial resources.

Diabetes is not hereditary, but when parents develop it, the likelihood of children also suffering from the disease is high. Poor lifestyle, in the form of wrong eating habits, lack of exercise, stress and working on night shifts are among the factors contributing to the development of diabetes at an younger age.

Dr Shyam Kalavalapalli, a senior endocrinologist said, "We see around 50 diabetic patients every day and almost half of them are in their 30s. This shows that those in the productive age group are suffering from the disease. They need to learn proper medical management and despite medication, after a decade they will need support in cardiac and also kidney care. Later, they will need to monitor their eye sight.  Hence, the burden of the disease is very high."

In the West, diabetes is still seen mostly in people over 50 years of age.

Dr Ch Vasanth Kumar, president-elect of the Research Society for Study of Diabetes said, "The incidence of diabetes among the poor is very high because they are the least attended to. They are in the unchecked and non-monitored groups who come to an institution very late. They suffer from diabetes and due to recurrent infections, develop tuberculosis. Complications among this group are very high, but they are not documented as they are at the fringe."

Diabetes is not covered by the government programme of Aarogyasri. Hence, patients have to pay for their own medicines. While anti-diabetic drugs are on the National List of Essential Medicines, they are available only in generic stores, which are only at a few places and rarely present in the more remote areas. Most patients are thus dependent on branded drugs which are very expensive.

The treatment can be inexpensive and affordable, but it is not being made so as there is too much dependence on drugs. The disease can be managed by prevention and medication, but instead it has become a treatment-oriented disease. Due to this, lifestyle changes such as exercising and diet modifications are not explained properly to each patient.

Dr T.N.J Rajesh, consultant of internal medicine at Star Hospitals, said, "There are a lot of misconceptions and a blind following of western diets. Take the recent fad of consuming olive oil, which is good for the heart. But, it is unstable at high temperatures. Indian cooking takes place at high temperatures. It is better only for the Mediterranean diet, which includes salads that don't require cooking. For Indians, rice bran oil is the best option, as it has a good amount of monounsaturated fatty acids and is stable at high temperatures."

WHO announces pilot programme to prequalify human insulin
A day ahead of World Diabetes Day (November 14), the WHO announced a pilot programme to prequalify human insulin to increase treatment of diabetes in low and medium income countries.

WHO prequalification of medicines is a service provided by WHO to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products.

65 million people,who suffer from type 2 diabetes in the world, need insulin, according to a WHO release. Yet, only half of them can access it because of high prices. Insulin is needed by type-1 patients for survival.

The decision is part of a series of steps WHO will take to address the growing diabetes burden in all regions.

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