The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that India could count for 79 million of the world's 360 million diabetics by 2030, says a study released on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day on Monday.
The Rosso (Retrolective Study Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose and Outcome in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes) study has concluded that regular self-monitoring of blood glucose not only enhances the quality of life but also ensures longevity.
According to Professor Stephan Martin of the German Diabetes Clinic: "Even though this research study was done in Germany, its conclusive results are universal and applicable to all diabetics around the world."
The expert from the German Diabetes Clinic said the prevalence of the disease in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific is predicted to increase dramatically. He warned that diabetes would pose a major public health problem in most countries due to the increasing economic burden that grows with this epidemic.
"Comprehensive diabetes management therefore becomes more and more important to prevent cost-intensive complications and to reduce the suffering of people affected."
He said current WHO estimates put about 20 per cent of the world's diabetic population in India.
"The WHO further projects an increase in the incidence of diabetes in the Indian population to 79 million by 2030, giving India the dubious distinction of being the 'world's diabetes capital'."
Martin said that over the past few years, the role of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) for the treatment of diabetes has become an increasingly significant topic of discussion.
"One important new piece of evidence is the multi-centre cohort ROSSO study that has verified scientifically for the first time that SMBG - independent of therapy type - contributes to decreasing rates of mortality and morbidity," Martin said.
According to the ROSSO study, self-glucose monitoring can clearly raise life expectancy and the quality of life of patients suffering from Type-2 diabetes irrespective of any therapy regime they might have.
"Diabetes is now an epidemic in India. Every fifth diabetic in the world is an Indian and every fifth Mumbaikar will be a diabetic in five years," said Shashank Joshi, one of India's top diabetologists.
"Indians resent doing anything over and above the prescribed medications and regular visits to the doctors. However, a simple activity like monitoring blood glucose levels on a regular basis is a very efficient solution to treating diabetes whilst living life the way they want," said Joshi, consultant endocrinologist of Lilavati and Kem Hospitals.
He said the key to prevent diabetes was to eat less, eat on time, walk more, sleep well and smile.
"For a diabetic, the key to remain complication free is to have a good lifestyle, monitor glucose regularly, take medication and see the doctor regularly."