Addressing the Challenge of Undiagnosed Cases Crucial to Bring Down the Diabetes Burden

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“Diabetes affects over 10 crore people in India. However, an estimated 50% of cases in the country remain undiagnosed, posing the biggest challenge in bringing down the diabetes burden. Hence, expanding the reach of diabetes screening is the need of the hour,” medical experts of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre said and added that progress in this regard can be made only when every individual, especially adults over the age of 35 and those who have genetic predisposition or obesity, understand their risks and take appropriate action.”

In a media interaction organised by the hospital on account of World Diabetes Day 2023, which falls on November 14 every year, they said that equally important is to create awareness and ensure the reach of medicine and care to the diagnosed diabetic population so that they can avoid developing other health complications such as cardiovascular, renal and eye diseases, associated with diabetes.

In his address, Dr. B. Kannan, Medical Administrator, MMHRC, said that “India is home to the second largest diabetic population, next only to China. Over 90% of the patients have Type 2 diabetes, which is developed over time, largely due to wrong diet and lack of exercise, as opposed to Type 1 diabetes, which is a genetic disorder that typically shows up early in life. “Regular screening and early detection of the risks or the disorder can help crores of Indians either to prevent or manage diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or its onset can be delayed with a few lifestyle changes and healthy eating.”

He said that people with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition. They should avoid blindly believing in unscientific information they may receive via social media, such as YouTube and Facebook. Instead, they should consult qualified doctors. Both untreated or wrongly treated diabetes can lead to serious health issues like blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, and lower limb amputation.

Talking about diabetes detection, Dr. C.R. Mahesh Babu, Senior Consultant, Department of Diabetology, MMHRC, said testing is important for everyone over 35 years of age, but it is crucial for people who have a family history of diabetics (with one or both parents having the condition), obese (a BMI of 30 or above) and lead a sedentary lifestyle to go for regular diabetes screening. Three types of blood tests are important. Fasting sugar test, post-meal sugar test, and Haemoglobin A1c level test to comprehensively assess diabetes.

He said that it is important to maximise screening. “But it is a collective responsibility, and not just that of the government or the private sector or the NGOs alone. The government has taken several initiatives for the early detection of Non Communicable Diseases at the Primary Health Centre level. Healthcare institutions both in the public and the private sector routinely recommend diabetes screening for patients, irrespective of what their ailments are. NGOs are doing diabetic detection camps. But people should come forward to take the tests in self interest. Today, tests have become highly affordable. All the three tests should cost one less than Rs. 300. And these tests are done even in small town labs.”

Talking about preventive care, Dr. P. Krishnamoorthy, Senior Consultant and HoD, Department of General Medicine, MMHRC, said that people should lead an active life when they are still young. At least 45 minutes of exercise, such as swimming, jogging or walking is important. Practising yoga and meditation can greatly reduce stress, which has emerged as a significant risk factor. It is better that the at-risk population can get used to diabetic food, which is less in carbohydrates and fat. “With a balanced diet, regular exercise, lab investigations once in three months, and consultations from a qualified doctor, diabetes can be managed at any stage.”

Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre launches “Recent Advances in Diabetes Care - Call for Action” - an umbrella theme under which it introduces latest technologies and best practices for the comprehensive diagnosis and management of diabetes, as well as assessment and treatment of complications associated with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are given personalised treatment, developed in collaboration with multiple specialists including podiatrists, wound care specialists, endocrinologists, physical therapists, dietitians, ophthalmologists, and mental health professionals. The hospital has a dedicated team and facilities for the treatment and management of diabetes-related complications, such as neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular issues. 


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