Chennai: Diabetes has emerged as a great threat to the people of Tamil Nadu, with a prevalence of 15-18 per cent in urban areas and 6-8 per cent in rural areas. This incidence is on a steady increase, and if the trend continues, the state will have the maximum number of diabetes patients in the country, doctors in the city said, as they observed World Diabetes Day. If India has the dubious distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world, with more than 72 million cases of diabetes recorded in the country in 2017, the day is not far when Tamil Nadu will become India’s diabetes capital.
Avoiding junk food and eating a healthy diet are the cornerstones of managing diabetes, say medical experts. The spread of fast food culture and eating preserved foods and decreased physicalactivity have led to an increase in the number of young diabetics in Tamil Nadu. “Refined foods such as maida, processed foods (tinned and canned foods), sugary foods and foods with high-fat content must be avoided,”says Dr Soundaram Valliyappan, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Guindy, Chennai Juvenile diabetes or type 1 diabetes is also increasing. It is an auto-immune disease and one’s lifestyle cannot be blamed for it.
Insulin has to be given lifelong to these patients. “However, patients still don’t realize the need for proper follow-up with the doctor. Some patients meet the doctor only once a year.
Lifestyle modification can prevent diabetes Regular checkup, following a diabetic diet, regular exercise and proper treatment will have good control of over diabetes and can avoid complications,”said Dr E. Santhosh Kumar - Consultant General Physician, Parvathy Hospital, Chennai.
Further, every diabetic is at the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disease say doctors. Diabetic macular edema is the most common form of diabetic retinopathy. “Timely diagnosis can help patients catch up with the disease early and improve quality of life. This can happen only when the patient or caregiver understands the symptoms and seeks expert advice on time,”says Dr Rajiv Raman Consultant Vitreoretinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya Patients suffering from diabetes should visit the ophthalmologist every 6 months and not miss scheduled appointments. “Patients should be alert and aware of DME symptoms like blurred or fuzzy vision, straight lines that appear wavy or crooked, colour sensitivity, blind spots in central vision etc and visit the specialist immediately if they experience any change in vision,”Dr Rajiv said.
The government has many active programs to control diseases like TB, dengue and malaria, but very few for non-communicable diseases like diabetes. It needs to expand programs to even small villages to screen people for diabetes and give lifestyle and diet advice.
To manage diabetes, patients need to follow four mantras of diet modification, regular exercise, regular medication as per doctor’s advice, and regular blood testing, the doctors recommended....