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50 per cent of diabetes cases in India often go undiagnosed
According to the International Diabetes Federation, India is home to over 65.1 million diabetics, and this number is set to touch 100 million in less than two decades. Lifestyle and demographic transitions, a genetic predisposition, faulty diets and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the leading reasons for its increasing incidence.
While diabetes is often asymptomatic and goes undiagnosed, its impact on the overall health and well-being of an individual cannot be ignored.

Diabetes is a direct risk factor for life-threatening ailments like heart disease and stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from one of the two diseases. Yet, over 50% of the diabetes cases in India often go undiagnosed and are treated only at later stages.

With the theme for World Health Day being 'Beat Diabetes' this year, awareness must be raised about the importance of timely detection as well as treatment of diabetes. Focus must also be laid on making necessary lifestyle changes from the very onset in order to prevent the disease in the very first place.

Dr. Praveer Agarwal, Director and Interventional Cardiologist at Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre, New Delhi said in a statement, "Heart ailments are the leading cause of death among people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Heart disease and diabetes have a strong connect, with obesity at the base. Fat deposition around the waist, a commonly found occurrence in the Indian population, leads to poor glucose control and increases the risks of atherosclerosis. One of the greatest challenges faced by interventional cardiologists treating people suffering from diabetes and heart disease is choosing between a bypass surgery or coronary stenting, given the associated complications involved. While with the development of drug eluting stents, the risks have been reduced, in severe cases, a bypass surgery is preferred over opening the artery through an angioplasty. The reason being that diabetic patients have extensive and diffuse blockages that are best treated by bypassing those areas altogether."

Dr. Subrata Lahiri, Consultant Cardiologist, Delhi Heart and Lung Institute said, "With regard to angiographic characteristics, it has been observed that both diabetics and non-diabetics display similar left ventricular function. However, diabetics have a greater incidence of diffuse coronary artery diseases and triple-vessel disease. Also, such patients run a greater risk of myocardial infarction and in-hospital death. Lifestyle modifications are a must for managing diabetes. Quitting smoking, limiting fat intake and consumption of alcoholic drinks, increased physical activity such as brisk walking, jogging, yoga or aerobics class can go a long way in reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Relaxation techniques can also play a great role in the prevention of these."

The risk of heart attack or stroke can be reduced by around 50 per cent by optimizing Vitamin D levels, exercise and weight management. Basic dietary changes that encompass vitamin rich food and increased exposure to sunlight can help ward off diabetes and cardiovascular ailments that are slowly assuming epidemic proportions in our country.

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