People living with diabetes need not fear the disease but they need to understand that it is not a simple disorder that can be taken lightly, said Vijay Vishwanathan, Head & Chief Diabetologist of M.V. Foundation for Diabetes and Prof. M. Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre, Chennai.
Speaking at a webinar on management of diabetes, he reminded the audience: “It is wrong to think that diabetes starts only when one has high blood sugar levels. The hyperglycaemia and the biochemical abnormalities happen at least 10 years before the onset of the disease. Insulin resistance increases much before the development of diabetes.” He stressed on the importance of early detection of prediabetes, in the run up to World Diabetes Day on November 14.
With this year’s campaign focusing on the need for better access to quality diabetes education, Dr. Vishwanathan reiterated that the Indian phenotype — thin fat Indians with abdominal adiposity and low muscle mass — run the highest risk of Type II diabetes and people ought to be serious about preventing the progression of prediabetes to diabetes. “Diabetes is a vascular disease that can affect organs such as the heart, kidney, eye, lungs, gums and create complications,” he said.
“Suspect early to treat early,” he said for people who lead sedentary lifestyle, have hypertension and obesity, born to parents with diabetes and women with gestational diabetes.
Dr. Vishwanathan highlighted how COVID-19 had changed diabetes management because studies have shown the SARS CoV-2 virus affecting insulin-producing beta cells. He advised persons who had recovered from COVID to make mindful changes in lifestyle, stay active, eat healthy and regularly monitor their glucose levels.
Although HbA1C reading differs for different age groups, Dr. Vishwanathan said ideally it should be maintained below 6.5 to enable a person with diabetes to go into remission. “Reversal of diabetes is a term that has been rejected by the American and European Association of Diabetologists but if a person can reduce medication with good exercise and right diet, for six months, it helps to treat the disease more effectively, as 95% of all diabetes cases are related to poor life style,” he said.
The webinar on “Clinical Pearls in the Management of Diabetes in 2022” was presented on Friday by the M.V. Foundation for Diabetes, Chennai, under The Hindu Wellness series.
The webinar can be viewed on YouTube link http://bit.ly/3GeqZUf.