HYDERABAD: Advances in science and technology have helped man battle the deadliest of infectious diseases, but not the silent killers of diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Diabetes, a fast-growing non-communicable disease world over, has tightened its grip on India, with an estimated 77 million of 1.33 billion of the country’s population affected by the non-communicable disease.
These scary numbers, lack of awareness and lax regulations on health information are causing diabetics to get exploited. They are made to think: if diabetes can be reversed, is it just a hype or is it just a marketing stunt?
There are several factors that can cause diabetes — genetic preponderance, sedentary lifestyle, intake of foods with high glycemic index, pancreatic illness, stress, insulin resistance at the cellular level and autoimmune diseases, among others.
To simplify this, it is a metabolic condition wherein the body’s equilibrium is altered due to the aforementioned reasons, leading to insulin deficiency or inefficiency. But, it is important to note that diabetes cannot be reversed in all patients. One should not expect a reversal if they have:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 3c diabetes
- Long duration of Type 2 with high average blood sugars
- Genetic or autoimmune causes leading to permanent damage of insulin producing cells
But, there’s hope for those suffering from:
- Stress-induced diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Steroid-induced diabetes
- Early stages of Type 2 diabetes
Here are some ways to reverse the condition:
- Physical activity
- Bariatric surgery
Early duration and mild diabetes can be managed with only lifestyle modifications which includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Advanced diabetes needs a multi-pronged approach which includes pharmacological therapy as well surgical which is the last resort. However, newer concepts are emerging to treat diabetes such as islet cell transplant, endobariatric procedures and much more.
(Dr Jagadeesh Kumar V, associate director & senior physician, Department of Internal Medicine at AIG Hospitals)