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Remission of Diabetes in India

Context:

The idea of reversing diabetes has gained significant popularity recently, with various commercial organizations capitalizing on this trend and making bold claims. It is crucial to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages associated with the concept of diabetes reversal.

Relevance:

GS2-Health

Mains Question:

The idea of reversing diabetes has gained significant popularity recently, with various commercial organizations capitalizing on this trend. Explaining the concept of remission of diabetes, discuss its relevance and efficacy. (15 marks, 250 words).

Diabetes in India:

  • According to recent data from the Indian Council of Medical Research–India Diabetes (ICMR–INDIAB) study, there are millions of people with diabetes and prediabetes in India.
  • Currently, diabetes is not effectively managed, making it the primary contributor to issues such as blindness, amputation, heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and impotence.
  • Frequently, individuals in the prime of their lives suffer from one or more of these severe complications, impacting not only the affected individuals but also their families.
  • Ultimately, the repercussions can extend to the broader economy of the country.

Diabetes Remission-Meaning:

  • Firstly, it’s important to note that the term ‘reversal’ of diabetes is scientifically inaccurate; the more appropriate term is ‘remission’ of diabetes.
  • Diabetes is a diverse condition with multiple types. When discussing the remission of diabetes, it is most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes.
  • However, there are other variations, such as type 1 diabetes, where achieving long-term remission is highly improbable.
  • Unlike ‘reversal,’ which suggests a permanent return to normalcy and a cure, ‘remission’ implies a temporary disappearance of diabetes.
  • Similar to how cancer can go into remission but return in a more aggressive form, diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, can also experience remission.

How easy is it to achieve Diabetes Remission?

  • Not everyone with type 2 diabetes can achieve remission. Some programs assert that they can reverse type 2 diabetes at any stage, but this is not accurate.
  • Certain individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to achieve remission, identified by factors represented by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. These factors include A1c levels, Body Mass Index (BMI), C-Peptide levels, Duration of diabetes, and an Enthusiastic individual willing to achieve remission.
  • It’s essential to recognize that even achieving temporary remission for a few months or years can be worthwhile, as it leads to a positive ‘legacy effect,’ providing protection from diabetes-related complications.
  • For those unable to achieve remission, there is no cause for despair. Long-term remission is challenging for the majority of people with type 2 diabetes, and even for those who do achieve it, diabetes often returns with increased severity.

Way Forward:

  • To lead a long and healthy life despite diabetes, individuals can follow a set of guidelines represented by the letters A, B, C, and D.
  1. A: It is recommended to keep A1c or glycated hemoglobin levels below 7% (or preferably below 6.5%);
  2. B: Maintain Blood Pressure below 130/80 mm/Hg or as appropriate for the individual’s age;
  3. C: Ensure Cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) is less than 50 mg/dl or at least below 70mg/dL;
  4. D: Practice Discipline, involving a healthy diet, regular exercise, and frequent check-ups with your diabetologist.
  • The ultimate goal of diabetes treatment is a life free of diabetes complications. Lifestyle modifications can prevent many individuals with prediabetes from developing diabetes, and for those with diabetes, adhering to treatment guidelines can ensure a long and healthy life without complications.

Conclusion:

While achieving a ‘diabetes-free’ India may be challenging, the dream of a ‘diabetes complications-free India’ is a worthy goal. On World Diabetes Day (November 14), let us recommit ourselves to working towards this dream.


June 2024
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