Since 2011, pulses, dry rotis and vegetable juices have replaced pizzas, burgers and colas in 31-year-old Nikalank Jain’s meal box.
The Powai-based brand design consultant was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year after his blood sugar levels soared, much to his disbelief.
Diabetes is often called the silent killer because people who have it are often unaware they are affected.
Type 2 diabetes is caused when the action of insulin production is impaired due to reasons such as obesity, high calorie food intake and genetic factors. It is the most common form of diabetes On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes is juvenile diabetes, where the child’s pancreas cannot secrete any insulin.
“I used to have 18-hour work shifts, went on vacation only once in a few years and ate at erratic hours. Owing to the lack of awareness, I did not pay much heed to the symptoms before it was finally detected,” said Jain, who stopped medication after he almost passed out while driving, due to a sudden drop in his blood sugar levels. “I was getting increasingly dependent on the tablets. Thus, I decided to deal with diabetes using natural methods such as physical training, healthy food habits and adopting a more disciplined lifestyle,” added Jain, who also quit smoking to bring his blood sugar levels under control.
According to a Hindustan Times-C fore lifestyle ailments survey (see box on top), diabetes was rated as the most common lifestyle-related complaint among Mumbaiites. The survey also pointed out that more women in Mumbai complained about diabetes than men.
“Erratic food habits, work-related stress and physical inactivity are the primary reasons for the rise in the number of Type 2 diabetics in the country over the past few decades,” said Dr Manoj Chadha, endocrinologist, Hinduja Hospital. “In the case of children, the concept of entertainment has changed. Children prefer computer games over physical exercises and junk food over home-cooked meals, triggering this condition,” he added.
The number of people with diabetes in India is currently around 62.4 million and has increased by 11 million in just one year, according to the INDIAB study which was started under the support of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and regional collaborators. For every person with diabetes, there is one person with pre-diabetes .
Pre-diabetes is the state in which some but not all of the diagnostic criteria for diabetes are met. It is often described as the ‘grey area’ between normal blood sugar and diabetic levels. While in this range, patients are at risk for not only developing Type 2 diabetes, but also for cardiovascular complications. The number of people with pre-diabetes is estimated to be 77.2 million. It is estimated that the total number of people with diabetes in India will rise to 87 million by 2030.
On account of non-specific symptoms such as frequent urination, fatigue and hunger pangs, experts said that some patients did not take this ailment seriously. “Unlike communicable diseases such as dengue and malaria that have clear symptoms, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes take time to be detected and treated,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).