kidney disease affects 50 per cent of the diabetes patients and these persons are also two to four times more likely to develop cardio vascular disease

Mumbai: A recent global trial of more than 7,000 diabetes patients has shown that the latest drugs that are being used to manage this condition has reduced the risk of death due to complications like cardiovascular conditions and kidney problems.

According to Dr Shashank Joshi, consultant endocrinologist, the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing and while India has around 69 million patients, the global count is 415 million. “It is further estimated that India will have around 123 million diabetes cases by the year 2040, and hence a paradigm shift is needed in management of this condition,” he said. In fact, diabetes is now being counted as among the top 10 reason for causing deaths, which was earlier not the case, he added.

The expert said that EMPA-REG, which is the global study presented at the American Diabetes Association has shown that the new drugs reduce the risk of progressive kidney disease by around 39 percent.  This becomes significant in the light of the fact that kidney disease affects 50 percent of the diabetes patients and these persons are also two to four times more likely to develop cardio vascular disease.  However, though the new line of treatment is now available in India, they have to be given under medical supervision to avoid any kind of complications, Dr Joshi said.

Explaining the situation in this country, the doctor said that we are a highly heterogeneous society and have totally different eating habits. “As a population, we tend to have a lot of carbohydrates in our diet whether it is in the form of rice or wheat and hence it is important for us to change our dietary composition and have more proteins,” he said.

Another major issue that is being seen today is that people have lot of gadget addiction which results in very little physical activity, he pointed out. “The truth is that not just the towns and cities, this gadget addiction has also reached the rural area and people are having sedentary lifestyles,” he said. In fact, the cause of diabetes in modern world should be referred to as ‘affluenza’ and ‘sedentarism’ since people tend to become sedentary when they become more affluent, he said.

Therefore, it is equally important for us to change our lifestyle and try to walk more and try to get as much exercise as possible. Instead of being known as the diabetes capital of the world, India should be known more as the diabetes care capital, he suggested.

The break up so far is that urban India has two thirds of the total diabetes cases, while rural India has one third, Dr Joshi said.  “But the worrying factor is that the rural areas are catching up very fast with their urban counterparts and this makes it very important to take preventive steps,” he said.

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