chronic kidney disease

Want to know what all Diabetes can do to you?

Even though we have been knowing the complications of diabetes and many great scientist of ancient times warned about the disease and its complications in very simple ways, we have not been able to treat the disease. Diabetes was recognised in Vedas as old as about 4500 years ago, Sushruta told us about 1500 years back and Egyptians mention it 3500 years’ back. Each culture had their own methods of diagnosing and managing diabetes, although their efficacy had a tendency to differ wildly. Many of these methods were based on the idea that diabetes leads to high sugar levels in urine. For example, our ancient Indians relied on the attraction of ants to a patient’s urine for a diagnosis ( as mentioned by Sushruta in 6th century AD).

In second century AD, Aretaeus, a Greek physician, describes diabetes complications accurately in following manner which is stand like that only till today ,

‘…………..a dreadful affliction….a melting down of the flesh and limbs into urine. The patients never stop making water and the flow is incessant….Life is short, unpleasant and painful, thirst unquenchable, drinking excessive, and disproportionate to the large quantity of urine, for yet more urine is passed….if for a while they abstain from drinking, their mouths become parched and their bodies dry; the viscera seems scorched up, the patients are affected by nausea, restlessness and a burning thirst, and within a short time, they expire.”

….there has not been much progress till date.

It means what modern science is doing on this disease, is not enough and there is a major error in our understanding and treatment, because diabetes is having same complications till date. We have been able to prolong the life of a patient but complications still remain in the form of Whole Body Effect.

The Whole Body Effect

Diabetes, unlike most of the other disease, devastate our entire body. What happens when excessive glucose piles up in the body over a period of time. Every Cell starts to get damaged, which is precisely why type 2 diaebtes, unlike any other diease, affects every single organ and is called a Silent Killer. Your eyes to kidney, all get damaged. What happens to your body if we do not remove the excess glucose? No organ system remains unaffected by diabetes. These complications are generally classified as kidney disease, heart disease, fatty liver, eye problems, nerve problems, high blood pressure etc. Beyond these, there are many other complications, including skin conditions, PCOS, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.

Diabetics Suffer From

  1. Heart disease – death from heart disease and stroke is 3 times higher for diabetics, 1/3rd of diabetics have documented diabetes.
  2. High blood pressure – 75% of diabetics have high blood pressure
  3. Four fold increased risk for dementia in diabetics and pre diabetics is leading cause of pre dementia also known as mild cognitive impairment
  4. Leading cause of liver failure from NASH called fatty liver. Those with fatty liver are at much greater risk of heart attack and death
  5. Cause of depression and mood disorder. Women with diabetes are 29% more likely to develop depression and women taking insulin are 53% more likely to develop depression
  6. Almost 30% of diabetics have sensation issues in feet
  7. Blindness – Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, retinal damage being common
  8. Kidney disease – approximately 2% of type 2 diabetic patients develop kidney disease each year. 10 years after diagnosis, 25% of diabetics have evidence of kidney disease
  9. Nervous system – Diabetic neuropathy, affects 60-70% diabetics. First in the feet, then progresses to hands and arms, symptoms include – tingling, numbness, burning and pain
  10. Amputation – leading cause of amputation due to organ damage in diabetic
  11. Cancer – diabetes increases risk , 35% rise in colorectal cancer

Financial and Economic Burden

Diabetes and pre diabetes account for largest percentage of health care spending placing a large economic burden on our society.

India does not have a social security network for its people and there’s total lack of any governmental funding for serious non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Since more than 90% of healthcare is out-of-pocket expense, the system is set up to favour those who can pay.

But are we getting our money’s worth? Is our current approach winning the battle against these completely preventable and curable diseases. Clearly, the answer is NO!

Editor of the Lancet medical journal called it a “Public Health Humiliation”, that Diabetes, a largely preventable disease, has reached such epidemic proportions.

The economic complications to the common man are huge and can be quite devastating, especially if the person ends up with diabetes-related complications or premature heart disease or strokes. Not only are medication and regular monitoring — especially if they are on insulin — a recurring lifetime cost to a patient,  adds to the economic burden.

It has been said that almost one in three or four people undergoing renal dialysis or renal transplants are people with diabetes. Add to this the cost of managing high blood pressure, cholesterol and fat abnormalities and treating obesity as well —and one can easily see the vast cost on the common person. Don’t forget, foot and lower limb amputations associated with diabetes are the second largest cause of amputations in our country. It is also the single biggest cause of blindness in India.

Diabetes has negative implications for human development and the achievement of global goals. Preventable deaths and loss of workforce due to diabetes complications are detrimental to economy. The high costs of treatment of diabetes amongst all socioeconomic patient groups results in a serious burden on both patient and society or nation as a whole.

Using medicines to keep glucose under control in individuals who continue to consume same old diet will not prevent diabetes complications. The cure for type 2 diabetes is already known – removing the cause can reverse the disease.

There are so many devastating risk and complications associated with Diabetes from medical to economical to emotional dependency to physical dependency. It is very expensive to the individual and the society as a whole.


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