CHENNAI: Regarded as the ‘Diabetic capital of the world’, diabetes has now been normalized like any other common illness, with every household having at least one diabetic patient. Research and studies conducted in recent times indicate that early onset of diabetes, especially in the young population of the nation is on an alarming rise. With many terming the condition ‘a national epidemic’, this should be a rightful cause of concern.
Diabetes is a condition in which the insufficient production of insulin in the body affects normal blood sugar levels. Ahead of World Diabetes Day, observed on November 14, every year, doctors speak to Deccan chronicle about the various complications the disease can cause and how it could impact vital organs like the kidney, eyes and heart. With the number of diabetic patients in our country increasing by multifold every other day, doctors feel it is about time fitness is included as a ‘ necessary’ part of the Indian lifestyle.
"Diabetes is the most common risk factor for coronary heart disease. About 70 per cent of diabetes deaths occur due to cardiovascular diseases.", says Dr K. P. Suresh Kumar, Chief cardiologist, Kauvery hospital. The occurrence of heart attack and stroke is 2-3 times higher in diabetic patients." They are also at a higher risk of heart failure, about 2-5 times higher than normal patients", he adds. " Obesity, insulin resistance, glycemic variability( sudden fluctuations of blood sugar), a spike in blood sugar levels after meals, hypertension, cholesterol and a sedentary lifestyle will increase the risk of heart diseases in diabetic patients ", explains Dr Suresh. While cardiovascular diseases can be treated, about 70 per cent of diabetic patients suffer from asymptomatic or sub-clinical heart diseases, which gradually worsens over the years, mainly due to late or non-diagnosis.
"Diabetic patients experience no chest pain due to damage to the pain-causing nerve fibres. However, unexplained fatigue, breathlessness and indigestion are all underlying symptoms of cardiovascular diseases," he explains. He also advises patients to undergo yearly thread-mill tests and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Medicines like gliptin and SGC2 help to prevent these complications. It is also necessary that diabetic patients take satin( a medicine for cholesterol) even if their cholesterol levels are normal, he says.
Kidney are also among the vital organs to be affected by this condition. " About 20 - 25 % of diabetic patients suffer kidney failure. Early diagnosis is crucial in these cases", feels Dr Sunil Shroff, a well-known urologist and managing trustee of the non-profit organisation, MOHAN foundation.
The condition has also been found to impact eyes. Elaborating on this, Dr Santhosh Balasubramanian, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital says, "In diabetes, our bodies have high blood glucose levels. This high blood glucose can damage certain tissues in our body, particularly the eyes by damaging the retina, the back part of the eye that senses light and turns it into signals that your brain decodes, so you can see the world around you. If your blood glucose stays high over time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. The most serious diabetic eye diseases begin with this." Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are some of the complications caused by the condition, he adds.
"Seventy-three million people in India suffer from diabetes. The number is expected to touch 134 million by 2045 ", informs Dr. V Mohan, Chairman, Dr Mohan Diabetes Centre. Emphasizing on the need for regular physical activity and a healthy diet, he asserts that a diabetic patient can avoid all complications and lead a healthy life by following the above two advice....