People with Type 1 diabetes in India to double by 2040, says Lancet study. Let's understand the disease

Varsha Vats
Varsha VatsSep 22, 2022 | 18:35

People with Type 1 diabetes in India to double by 2040, says Lancet study. Let's understand the disease

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help maintain blood sugar levels. Photo: Pexels

Diabetes, a non-communicable disease, affects a lot of people every year. India's diabetes numbers are scarier than ever. A recent Lancet study has also stressed on India's worrisome diabetes statistics.

What does the study say? The Lancet Modelling study has revealed that number of people living with Type 1 diabetes in India is set to double by 2040. According to the data, an estimated 8.4 million people were living with Type 1 diabetes in 2021. The data has also revealed that in India approximately one in six young people are dying of Type 1 diabetes without a diagnosis.

The study was published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

India is one of the 10 countries with highest Type 1 diabetes prevalence. The other 9 countries are: USA, Brazil, China, Germany, UK, Russia, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Spain.

These huge numbers make it crucial to understand and create awareness about the disease. Better awareness can help prevent, control and manage diabetes. To clear all your doubts, let’s understand the disease and what exactly you can do to safeguard yourself.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic condition which affects the way your body uses blood sugar (glucose). A person with diabetes is not able to make or use insulin (a hormone that moves sugar from the blood into your cells) effectively.

The causes of diabetes depend on the type. There are three types of diabetes that can affect an individual:

1. Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The cause and prevention of Type 1 diabetes are unknown.

Dr V Mohan, who is diabetes expert, Chairman and Chief Diabetologist of Dr Mohans Diabetes Specialities Centre explains, “Type 1 diabetes is a condition with absolute insulin deficiency. One must ensure that every person living with Type 1 diabetes has access to insulin and that it is affordable. Currently, there is no other treatment for Type 1 diabetes patients. It is however possible for children with Type 1 diabetes lead a healthy life with appropriate insulin supply.”

It was earlier known as juvenile diabetes because it usually starts during childhood and teens. But it can affect anyone at any age.

2. Type 2 diabetes: Unhealthy diet and lifestyle usually contribute to Type 2 diabetes. In this type, the body becomes resistant to insulin and sugar builds up in the body. It is the most common type diabetes and 90% to 95% of diabetes patients suffer from Type 2. This type is reversible during the initial stage.

Maintaining a healthy body weight can help reduce Type 2 diabetes risk. Photo: Pexels

3. Gestational diabetes: This type affects women during pregnancy. The blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually occurs only during pregnancy.

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Constant tiredness and weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent infections

Who are at a higher risk? A person with a family history of diabetes is at a significantly higher risk of developing the disease.

Prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes are more common in people at an unhealthy body weight.

Diabetes management: A healthy diet and lifestyle, combined with the right medication help maintain normal blood sugar levels. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to higher risk of heart disease, nerve damage, kidney issues, foot conditions, eye-related issues and much more.

It is crucial for diabetics to check blood sugar levels regularly. Photo: Pexels

Prevention of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. One can prevent the other types with the help of a healthy diet, active lifestyle and healthy bodyweight.

Swati Bathwal, nutritionist and diabetes educator from Australia, shares a few prevention tips, “Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continuing for 12 months (once the solids are introduced) is important. One should also check Vitamin D status and supplement where necessary after consultation with a doctor. Fast food intake should also be controlled for better nutrient absorption.”

She also stressed on the importance of educating people about the disease for better management and prevention.

Last updated: September 22, 2022 | 18:35
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