The Latin name for diabetes is Diabetes Mellitus and there are two types, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 occurs when the body is unable to produce the insulin needed to regulate glucose levels, while Type 2 occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin as per the requirement of the body or the insulin is not able to perform its function. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is rare, affects about 15 percent of the population and usually develops at a young age. Type 2 on the other hand, affects about 85 percent of the population and is diagnosed at a much later stage.

Causes and Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus

The common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes are increased urination, hunger and fatigue, dry mouth and itchy skin and blurred vision. Yeast infections, slow-healing cuts or bruises, pain or numbness in feet and legs, unplanned weight loss, nausea, and vomiting are also signs of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes mostly occurs in children or adolescents, and symptoms can include dry mouth, unusually high levels of urination, increased thirst, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. Those with a history of Type 1 diabetes in the family are more likely to develop the condition.

Type 2 diabetes can develop over a period of months or years and symptoms can appear slowly, and in addition to the symptoms stated above, it can include leg pain. Most people with diabetes 2, live without knowing that they have the ailment. Most symptoms are shared by both types of diabetes, but people with Type 2 diabetes may exhibit symptoms like certain skin disorders.

Prevalence in India

Over 30 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in India (when? Every year?). It is a growing challenge, with an estimated 8.7(%?) diabetic population between ages 20-70yrs.  As for Type 1 diabetes, India has about 97,000 children affected with the disease (timeline? Right now? Annualy?) and this can develop in adults as well. The rising prevalence of diabetes in India is because of rapid urbanisation, sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and increasing life expectancy. Obesity is one of the most important risk factors responsible for diabetes and is (obesity or diabetes) easily preventable through healthy diets and physical activity. Prevalence of diabetes is much lower in rural India as compared to the urban population.

The Way Forward for Diabetes Prevention and Management

With the introduction of policies and awareness programmes, the diabetes burden can be alleviated. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare must increase awareness about the harmful effects of junk and processed food and the importance of physical activity in both children and adults. A comprehensive approach to address the risk factors for diabetes is the need of the hour. Using technology and innovation to advocate for healthy living among citizens must be a priority. The ministry has already funded a website (Healthy-India.org) that provides information on the prevention of non-communicable diseases like diabetes. Accessibility and affordability of healthy food for marginalized sections of society; making urban design facilitate and enable physical activities like cycling and walking; initiation of regulatory bodies to prevent diabetes and promoting healthier diets; can help bring down the burden of the disease. Both private and public entities in the healthcare sector with the help of multilateral organizations like the WHO and World Bank as well as NGOs can focus on curbing the disease in India.

Glycemic control can help with effective management of diabetes and leaves scope for improvement. As technological advancements happen, diabetes rates can be brought down considerably in the future. India must focus on bringing down the numbers through policies in the health system. Prevention must be a primary focus as it is cost effective and easily achievable. Diabetes can be prevented through weight management, regular physical activity, and healthy eating habits.

 

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