Joined: 17 Jul 2006
|Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:36 pm Post subject: Diabetes in India is on the Rise
|Diabetes in India is on the Rise
From the New York Times:
The future looks only more ominous as India hurtles into the present, modernizing and urbanizing at blinding speed. Even more of its 1.1 billion people seem destined to become heavier and more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes, a disease of high blood sugar brought on by obesity, inactivity and genes, often culminating in blindness, amputations and heart failure. In 20 years, projections are that there may be a staggering 75 million Indian diabetics.
"Diabetes unfortunately is the price you pay for progress," said Dr. A. Ramachandran, the managing director of the M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, in Chennai (formerly Madras). For decades, Type 2 diabetes has been the "rich man's burden," a problem for industrialized countries to solve.
But as the sugar disease, as it is often called, has penetrated the United States and other developed nations, it has also trespassed deep into the far more populous developing world.
In Italy or Germany or Japan, diabetes is on the rise. In Bahrain and Cambodia and Mexico - where industrialization and Western food habits have taken hold- it is rising even faster. For the world has now reached the point, according to the United Nations, where more people are overweight than undernourished.
Diabetes does not convey the ghastly despair of AIDS or other killers. But more people worldwide now die from chronic diseases like diabetes than from communicable diseases. And the World Health Organization expects that of the more than 350 million diabetics projected in 2025, three-fourths will inhabit the third world.
"I'm concerned for virtually every country where there's modernization going on, because of the diabetes that follows," said Dr. Paul Zimmet, the director of the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. "I'm fearful of the resources ever being available to address it."
India and China are already home to more diabetics than any other country. Prevalence among adults in India is estimated about 6 percent, two-thirds of that in the United States, but the illness is traveling faster, particularly in the country's large cities.
Throughout the world, Type 2 diabetes, once predominantly a disease of the old, has been striking younger people. But because Indians have such a pronounced genetic vulnerability to the disease, they tend to contract it 10 years earlier than people in developed countries. It is because India is so youthful - half the population is under 25 - that the future of diabetes here is so chilling.