Today is the World Diabetes Day, and the announcement by the 20th annual World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetic Federation (IDF) last month, that India leads the world in the looming epidemic of diabetes, comes as an alarm.
According to the IDF, India currently has the highest number of 50.8 million people suffering from diabetes, followed by China with 43.2 million and the US with 26.8 million. It projects 58.7 million diabetes cases in India by 2010 — almost 7 per cent of our adult population. The figures are alarming and experts say we need to press the panic button.
Says Dr (Col) Surinder Kumar of Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, “Stress, eating habits and no physical activity are responsible for the rising cases of diabetes in India. People should tap the risk factors and make it a point to monitor their sugar levels.”
Several prominent names from the world of glamour who suffer from diabetes too say that life for diabetic needn’t be difficult. Actor Kamal Hassan, politician Sushma Swaraj, VJ Gaurav Kapoor and cricketer Wasim Akram have all put up a brave face dealing with diabetes. “I was diagnosed with diabetes at 23. But life for a diabetic is pretty much normal if you change your lifestyle. Like reduce salt, sugar and caffeine intake, and introduce some physical activity in your routine,” says Gaurav Kapoor.
In an earlier interview, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 30, said, “I don’t think being a diabetic is a hindrance in leading a normal life. Tapping your blood sugar and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to cope with it.”
Dr Ashutosh Shukla, of Artemis Health Institute, says, “Awareness and early detection are the keys to managing diabetes. Those with risk factors like obesity, work stress and a family history of diabetes must undergo a health check-up at least once a year.”