World Health Day 2016 and Diabetes

Every year, the World Health Organization selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day, which falls on 7 April, the birthday of the Organization. The theme for World Health Day 2016 is diabetes, a non-communicable disease (NCD) directly impacting millions of people of globally, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

Beat Diabetes

According to statistics from International Diabetes Federation (IDF), India has more diabetics than any other nation in the world. By the year 2030, over 100 million people in India are likely to suffer from diabetes.

The current expenditure on diabetes treatment in India is approximately 6000per person/anum, whereas the cost of treatment of one complication of diabetes like diabetic foot is around 10-30000 per treatment.

Besides expenditure, there is a huge requirement for trained workforce at all levels, paramedical workers, doctors, podiatrists and more.

The incidence of diabetes is increasing in urban as well as rural areas. People living in urban areas are particularly affected and also people migrating from rural areas are also affected. The top 3 contributors for diabetes are:
  • Genetic factors- Heredity plays an important role in cause of diabetes.
  • Cultural and social factors – The Indian diet is rich in carbohydrates and saturated fats. A typical Indian diet has more calories and sugar than required by the body.
  • Increased mechanization, sedentary living habits and shift of eating habits from simple foods to fast foods etc.

Diabetes in simple words

Many people have heard of diabetes, but most people don’t know exactly what diabetes really is. When we eat food, it is broken down in glucose or sugar. Even though many health experts harp on not having too much sugar in the diet, you do need some glucose to help regulate your metabolism and give you energy.

During digestion, glucose moves through the body through the bloodstream to feed your cells. To be able to transfer the blood sugar into the cells, your body needs insulin, which is made by the pancreas and released into the bloodstream.

The problem happens when you have too much blood sugar in your body compared to the amount of insulin your pancreas is providing.

If your body is not making enough insulin to keep up with the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, or if your body is having trouble making insulin, the glucose in the blood remains there and causes your blood sugar levels to elevate. If it continues, even after monitoring your diet, you will develop diabetes.

Lack of awareness about diabetes and its complications, delayed diagnosis, myths surrounding diabetes management making diabetes detection and management difficult. Uncontrolled levels of blood sugar can lead to tissue damage throughout the body from eyes to toes.

Tips for prevention

  • A well balance diet including whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, low fat diary and avoiding saturated and trans-fats.
  • Regular physical activity for 60min/day
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Disciplined life style
  • Regular health check ups

Thumb rules

  • Diabetes should be seriously managed throughout lifetime.
  • For prevention focus should be on healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Early diagnosis is the key to effective management and prevention of complications.