Go for screening if you are above 40
22-12-2015 | Posted By: Admin | 626 View(s)
Most Indians are diagnosed after several years of being diabetic, face risk of complications
NEW DELHI: Madhu Goenka (50) was bewildered when she got diagnosed with diabetes 12 years ago, despite never having had a fondness for sweets or sugary foods and no family history of the disease.
“I never thought that I could get diabetes. Even as a child, I did not have sugar or sweets,” said the mother of two who lives in Gorakhpur.
She, however, was overweight and that made her choosy about what she ate.
“I was so worried about being overweight that every time I ate something, I would think it would make me fat. Soon, I started skipping meals, only having breakfast and a lot of water throughout the day and then a light meal in the evening,” said Goenka, who weighed 90kg for her five-foot-three frame.
But after her diagnosis, she had to change her lifestyle completely. She had to eat every two hours and exercise regularly.
Diabetes leads to a host of complications such as retinopathy that can lead to blindness, neuropathy that can cause foot sores and amputations, and kidney and heart diseases. Their risk can be lowered only through strict control of nutrition, weight, blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.
“People over the age of 50 who have been living with diabetes for more than a decade should set tough targets and work towards attaining them,” said Dr Sudhir Tripathi, senior consultant of endocrinology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
For Goenka, exercise worked wonders, and she managed to control blood glucose levels without medicines for the first five years after diagnosis. “I became more active and was able to manage my sugar levels without any medicines,” she said.
Apart from regular screening of blood glucose levels, diabetics should also get screened for other associated disorders and go for regular dilated eye exams, blood pressure, peripheral artery disease evaluation, lipid profile and HbA1c.
Most Indians get diagnosed after they’ve had diabetes for several years, which increases their risk of complications.
“It is essential to undergo diabetes screening at least once at the age of 40 even if you have no risk factors. In the case of type-2 diabetes, people often don’t know they have the disease till they develop complications,” said Dr Ajay K Ajmani, senior endocrinology consultant at BL Kapur Super Speciality Hospital.
“As many as 15-20% of my patients are diagnosed after they have some complications with their heart, kidneys or eyes,” said Dr Tripathi.
People with a family history of the disease, are overweight, have had gestational diabetes, have high blood pressure or suffer from heart disease, should get screened every year once they touch 30.
Source-Hindustan Times Nov18,2015