By Pandurang Hegde*
Since 2006 the World Health Organisation and United Nations together worked to pass a resolution to celebrate World Diabetes Day. The main objective is to create awareness on diabetes and to take action to tackle this global health issue. India being home to 60 million diabetic patients, the largest country to have highest number of patients has launched many programmes to address this non-communicable disease.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). This leads to raised blood glucose (sugar) level and over time, serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. In India, the type 2 diabetes is on the increase among the younger age group due to intake of high calorie diet and sedentary lifestyle.
In our country, diabetes is not restricted to affluent class of people. Even the lower middle class and poor sections of the society are also victims of this disease in large number.
Diabetes becomes more complicated as the health care systems are unable to diagnose the presence of the disease at early stage. Almost fifty per cent of the people suffering from diabetes are unaware of the presence of disease. Early identification of the person suffering from this disease is the key to effective management of the disease.
Recognising this fact, the union health and family welfare minister Shri J.P. Nadda has called for implementing the programme to screen the mass population to identify the onset of disease. He has also recently launched the M-Diabetes initiative, which aims at harnessing the mobile network to tackle the disease. With a missed call to 011-22901701 the caller can get basic information about the disease and how to manage it.
Why there is such large number of people suffering from diabetes in our country? In addition to life style causes, Indians have high genetic susceptibility towards this disease. It is estimated that between 12 to 18 per cent of adult population living in urban areas are suffering from diabetes. More young people will be joining the ranks in the coming years with high levels of obesity being reported among the children.
Diabetes also leads to complications leading to kidney failure, requiring huge dialysis costs. It also causes retinopathy leading to vision loss in adult working population. It may also increase the chances of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
According to World Economic Forum, the economic burden of the diabetes alone will be USD 0.15 trillion per year. As the average health costs of diabetes patient is three times higher than a normal person, with an estimated cost of Rs 10000 per annum required for treatment. As poorer patients cannot afford the high costs, non compliance leads to severe complications, adversely affecting the working life of those suffering from diabetes.
The National Health Missions launched by Government of India has established special cells at state and district levels to tackle the disease. Early detection using inexpensive technologies and through affordable medications the government is trying to implement programme to prevent and manage the disease.
Adopting a healthy diet comprising of balanced portion of carbohydrates, protein and fats is essential to prevent the onset of the disease. Physical activity, body weight exercise and a regular practice of yoga regime has to become part of everyday life so that the disease is kept away. This will help to keep the blood sugar under control and a diabetic can lead a normal healthy life. There is possibility of reducing 80 percent of type 2 diabetes through preventive measures.
Keeping in view the enormity of situation, Government of India has adopted multi-pronged strategy to combat the menace of diabetes. While celebrating National Ayurveda Day on October 28, 2016 the theme was ‘prevention and control of diabetes through ayurveda’. Shri Shripad Naik, Minister of state for AYUSH said “Ayureveda touches the entire way of life and therefore, we should look towards it not only for the treatment but also for the promotion of healthy life”.
The National Research Development Corporation, a wing of Ministry of Science and Technology is propagating commercialisation of Ayush -82, an ayurvedic formulation for prevention and management of diabetes at affordable price. They are popularising this medicine through giving advisements in national newspapers to reach maximum number of people.
Thus the Government of India has launched integrated approach to prevent and control the diabetes. However, in order to succeed there is need for many sectors in the society, employers, civil society and private sector to play active role towards achieving this objective.
Source: Press Information Bureau, Govt. of India