Thursday, November 20, 2008

Diabetes increasing in a richer society

Diabetes has been called a lifestyle disease, one that affects people who have moved onto a richer lifestyle (their food has got richer with more starch, more sugar, and lesser amount of direct physical work). As a consequence, the incidence of diabetes in countries (that are moving from a poor state to a state of rapid economic development) is increasing at a rapid pace. India is one such example - there is a huge section of the middle class and upper class that have more money than previously, have a more sedentary lifestyle, and also have aspirations to a richer living model. This would include stuff such as higher consumptions of fatty foods, colas, etc.
This increase in the number of diabetes affected people has many negative implications. Diabetes is currently a non-curable disease, and with a lot of potential complications all over the body. If the number of diabetes affected people in society increases, there will be a much higher need of diabetes treatment for all sections of society, and a much higher level of medical costs. The Government and other bodies should take a note of this trend, and try and educate society as to how to prevent this spread of diabetes from reaching alarming trends:

The fast transition of India to western lifestyle has made the country a hub for the disease and diabetes is fast emerging as one of the most common chronic ailment to affect children. Lifestyle changes and awareness of the disease can help many people to live safely with diabetes. “Obesity and inactivity among children have increased cases of diabetes among people of age 12-20 which was earlier prevalent only in those above 35 years of age,” says Dr Shailesh Lodha, senior consultant endocrinology, Fortis-Escort Hospital.
The incidence of juvenile diabetes caused due to genetic factors in children less than seven years is also rising by nearly 3%, whereas for mature patients it is rising by 5%. Meanwhile, the number of diabetes patients among grown-ups is also rising at a similar pace. Diabetes in itself causes less harm, but it can cause permanent damage to vital organs if remains undiagnosed for a long time.

Diabetes is a disease that has the potential of causing major long term harm to the health of society; and this will happen unless there are a number of measures taken to make society more aware of the need to prevent / control diabetes. The way forward should be to:
1. Educate people to reduce the current rate of people who are contracting diabetes.
2. For those who already have diabetes, they need to be properly aware of the normal safety measures to be taken, and follow them adequately.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 3:55 AM