India has the dubious distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world. According to Diabetes Atlas published by the International Diabetes Federation [IDF], there were an estimated 40 million people with diabetes in India in 2007 and this number is predicted to rise to almost 70 million people by 2025.
Recent trends show that the condition may even be worse than estimated. The real burden of the disease is due to its associated complications, which lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The need of the hour is to understand diabetes and manage it properly, so that a person with diabetes can live a normal life.
The diabetes and insulin connection
In diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin or does not respond properly to its own insulin, or both. Insulin is a natural hormone produced in the pancreas, which enables cells to absorb glucose obtained from food and convert it into energy. When there is lack of insulin, it causes glucose to accumulate in the blood and this condition is called diabetes.
Diet, exercise, proper medication and monitoring are essential in the management of diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to various complications and organ damage involving almost all parts of the body.
Insulin therapy facts
It is important to realise that insulin therapy is not a sign of failure or worsening disease. It is required in natural course of diseases by most people with diabetes. Diabetes needs to be controlled and insulin continues to play a major role in the management of diabetes.
Here are some important facts about insulin.
- External insulin replaces the hormone that the body does not produce to control blood sugars.
- Although some people may fear injections, most people are surprised by how little an insulin injection hurts. Due to advances in medical technology, insulin needles have become much smaller and thinner. Convenient insulin devices can make life really comfortable and better with almost no pain.
- Many people fear that taking insulin may interfere with their daily schedules. But those on insulin often say that their routines haven’t changed much since starting it. In fact, they now feel more energetic.
- Since the introduction of modern insulin, which can mimic the physiological insulin secretion closely, insulin therapy has been very convenient and safe.
Insulin and type-1 diabetes: Presently almost all people with type-1 diabetes must take insulin as their body cannot produce insulin at all.
Insulin and type-2 diabetes: Type-2 diabetes, which accounts for 95 per cent of total diabetics, is a progressive condition, which reduces the body’s capacity to make insulin. It is advised to take insulin if the diabetes is uncontrolled.
Gestational diabetes: It can cause early labour, birth defects and large babies. Since the discovery of insulin, it is now possible for women with diabetes to have a normal and healthy baby.