Recently in India, diabetes has been evolved into an even bigger issue than in the past. Most of the international health care conversation lately has been based on the Ebola crisis. However, diabetes is already an epidemic in India and the problem is only becoming more serious as time progresses.
As of November 2013, the amount of confirmed diabetes patients in the country reached 67 million and an additional 30 million people were included in the prediabetes group. Dr. Arun Bal, a diabetic surgeon in India, predicted that India will have the greatest amount of diabetes patients in the world by 2030 in a recent article published by The Times of India.
Interventional cardiologist Dr. Suresh Vijan feared the same outcome in analyzing the current trend in India. In addition to causing problems with blood sugar, diabetes can also lead to other serious issues as well, like heart disease. The percent increase of heart disease is rising significantly as well, partially due to the widespread diabetes epidemic.
“The incidence of heart disease is increasing at a rapid rate. It was 1.09% in the 1950s, increased to 9.7 % in 1990, and 11% by 2000. This rising trend will make India the heart disease capital of the world,” Dr. Vijan said. “Indians face a dual risk of heart disease and diabetes. The risk of death due to myocardial infarction is three times higher in diabetics as compared with non-diabetics. Life expectancy too is reduced by 30% in diabetics as compared to non diabetics; this translates into a loss of eight years of life.”
Dr. Vijan continued to explain that the main factors influencing diabetes and ultimately heart disease lie within the everyday lifestyle of many people in the country. He advised against the consumption of dense-rich foods and encouraged patients to abandon their sedentary lifestyle. Exercise and a balanced diet can do wonders to counteract the detrimental effects of diabetes.
Diabetes continues to affect millions of people not just in India, but worldwide. For many of these people, being given access to specialists could change their dietary habits and ultimately their healthcare outcomes for the better.