India is often called the diabetes capital of the world. World Diabetes Day, which is annually celebrated on November 14, is an occasion to spread awareness about the condition and its several impacts on a person’s overall health and well-being.

To commemorate World Diabetes Day, doctors at Fortis Hospital raised awareness around the rising burden of the disease.

Diabetes is the third major contributor to non-communicable diseases and overall mortality in India. In 2016, 2.5 times more people were diagnosed with diabetes than in 1990 and the condition was linked to 3 per cent of all deaths in this period, according to a study published in Lancet.

In alignment with the theme of World Diabetes Day 2021 ‘Access to Diabetes Care’, Doctors at Fortis Hospital emphasized the timely diagnosis and right treatment by opting for regular checkups and identifying the early symptoms.

Dr Manoj Khandelwal, Consultant, Endocrinology at Fortis Escorts Hospital Jaipur said, “If we look at the prevalence rates in Rajasthan, it is around 10-12 per cent, there is a lack of preventive screening. It’s essential to recognize the early signs of diabetes, be it a sudden increase in urination, feeling thirstier than usual, blurry vision, weakness, etc. Regular checkups can ensure early detection and appropriate treatment for diabetes. Moreover, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the prevalence of diabetes has increased significantly owing to delayed health checkups.”

“Most of the patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 undergo steroid treatment in case of severe COVID which might increase the sugar levels in the body. Steroids stimulate glucose production by the liver and inhibit peripheral glucose uptake resulting in insulin resistance. There aren’t any studies yet, but there have been cases where the patient got diagnosed with diabetes recently after a COVID infection,” he continued.

Dr R V S Bhalla, Director and HOD of Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad said,” Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high levels of sugar in our blood. The hormone, insulin is known to move sugar from the blood into our cells to be stored and used for energy. When a person has diabetes, their body does not make enough insulin, or it may not be able to effectively use the insulin it does make. High blood sugar levels, when untreated can damage other organs in the patient’s body such as kidneys, eyes, nerves, among others. Hence it is important to effectively manage the sugar levels.”

Talking about the symptoms, he added, “Symptoms of diabetes including increased hunger, increased thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, extreme fatigue etc. Sometimes in addition to the general symptoms, men can experience reduced sex drive or erectile dysfunction. Women on the other hand experience yeast infection, urinary tract infection and dry and itchy skin.”