Those suffering from diabetes should ensure that they undergo a complete health check up annually apart from constant monitoring of glucose levels through personal glucometers to keep the disease in check and avoid complications, V. Mohan, Chairman of Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre, Chennai has said.

He was speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the inauguration of the fourth National Insulin Summit at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER).

Dr. Mohan said that in a study conducted by him in association with the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences recently, the prevalence rate of diabetes in Puducherry was estimated at 14 to 15 per cent.

Earlier, Dr. Mohan spoke on the importance of controlling both pre-prandial and post-prandial glucose levels in persons suffering from diabetes. In cases where glucose levels both before and after meals were very high, the common method would be to address the high pre-prandial levels first. “When pre-prandial glucose levels are brought down, the post-prandial levels will automatically come down in most cases,” he said.

Director of JIPMER K. S. V. K Subba Rao said that medical practitioners at the Public Health Centres must be trained to treat people with diabetes as incidence of the disease even in the rural areas was increasing.

History of Insulin

The summit also had an exclusive exhibition on the history of insulin. Charts explaining the developments in diagnosis and treatment of diabetes from ancient times to the discovery of insulin were put up for public viewing.

The charts showcased how ancient Indian medical practitioners, including Susruta, identified the disease as early as in the sixth century BC with the use of ants.

When the insects were attracted to the urine of a person, he or she was diagnosed with “sweet urine disease,” the chart said.

A copy of the earliest available medical record on diabetes, made in 1552 BC in Egypt was also on display. The Egyptians had identified some of the symptoms of the disease including frequent urination.

The exhibits also contained information about scientists from across the world who had contributed to the development in diabetes treatment.