In India, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the numbers of people with diabetes between the ages of 20 and 79 years has risen from 32.6 million in 2000 to 74 million in 2021 and is predicted to rise to 124 million by 2045. It was also estimated that in 2021, 53% of the population had undiagnosed diabetes.
The Madras Medical Mission has done multiple studies on Type 1 and 2 diabetes in the last year as part of their research initiatives.
Intergenerational trend in diabetes patients
A pilot study was done on 100 patients, earlier this year, to detect specific patterns in diabetes patients across generations.
“We found that the younger generation are now diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes 10 years earlier when compared to the ages that their parents were diagnosed for the same. This pattern can be attributed to the altered dietary pattern and sedentary lifestyle due to lack of physical activity. Hence early lifestyle modification is the key to prevent diabetes and its complication at a young age,” said Dr. Manoj Shah, Diabetologist.
The need to set up a Podiatry clinic onsite
In an observational study on patients who came for diabetes treatment, it was noted that 75-80% of them did not wear proper protective footwear which could lead to an onset of neuropathic ulcers. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to damage of nerves especially of the limbs which in turn injures tissues leading to ulcers.This study has resulted in MMM understanding the gap in care of patients with diabetes and has prompted them to set up a Podiatry clinic to assess and help diabetic patients use the appropriate footwear to protect their feet and reduce the incidence of ulcer formation.
“A lack of proper footwear can lead to neuropathic ulcers which if left untreated may eventually lead to amputation of the limb. Our Podiatry Clinic will have a foot scanning machine that will help us prescribe the appropriate footwear for our patients. We would recommend that every diabetic patient does a foot evaluation annually,” said Dr. Ramanan, Diabetologist.
Diabetes’s connection to kidney and heart disease
That Type 2 Diabetes patients are at a greater risk of contracting chronic kidney diseases was the conclusion of an observational study on Type 2 diabetes patients conducted by MMM diabetologists.
Diabetes is usually accompanied by other risk factors like high lipids, hypertension and abdominal obesity. This clustering of risk factors is called as Metabolic Syndrome which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes can cause cardiovascular disease by accelerating blockages in the arteries supplying the heart muscles and diabetic patients develop diffuse multi vessel blockages which often are not picked up early due to lack of symptoms in the patients. It can also create weakness of the cardiac muscle which leads to heart failure. Most patients with diabetes do not have classic chest pain and present with atypical symptoms like breathlessness and fatigue.
We continue to do research in MMM on the connection of diabetes to kidney, heart and the reproductive system. These findings will be released in the near future.