Being Indian Why I am at the Risk of Diabetes?

We as Indians have one of the highest tendency to develop diabetes among all races. Will it not help if we know why are we so susceptible to the dreadful silent killer called Diabetes? What factors make us prone to this chronic condition? For combating this we must fight harder than others to control it, and not suffer from it.

We have known diabetes for more than 4500 years but still there is no cure. As per the International Diabetes Federation1 2019 India report, there are 770 lakh diabetic people. The prevalence of diabetes (adults) is 10.4%. In India, 1 out of 11 adults has diabetes. 57% is undiagnosed. Diabetes related deaths stand at a whooping number of 1,010,262. It is estimated that by 2035, there will be a staggering 1090 lakh diabetics out of an estimated 1.5 billion people in the country.


In a study published in the one issue of Diabetes, Mayo3 researchers examined whether Asian Indians have observable differences in the way their cells convert nutrient fuel to available energy and whether these differences may increase the risk for diabetes. The study yielded a number of interesting findings. Researchers observed that the Indian subjects, irrespective of their diabetic status, had a greater degree of insulin resistance than the American subjects of Northern European origin, even though the study subjects were not obese, a condition commonly associated with insulin resistance.


This trend can be attributed to several environmental and lifestyle changes coupled with genetic or ethnic predisposition. Our Genetic makeup and environmental factors coupled with life style changes contribute to this high rise of disease.

  1. Genetic or Ethnic Factor – We are born with a thrifty gene phenotype — rampant fetal under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies alter our metabolism and predispose us to syndrome X (a cluster of risk factors for diabetes). Syndrome X also called Metabolic Syndrome, we as Indians are more prone to clustering of increased abdominal girth, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and deranged blood lipids.
  2. Excess body fat from birth – we have more clustered fat in our bodies, 1.5 times more than white people from birth onwards. Most Indian children are born small, underweight and have a higher blood pressure and adiposity, which increases the chances of them developing into diabetic adults at a later stage in their lives.
  3. Asian Indians are more Insulin resistant – The excessive insulin resistance in Asian Indians2 is probably a primary metabolic defect and may account for the excessive morbidity and mortality from diabetes and coronary heart disease in this population.
  4. Fatty Liver – liver is a site of excessive fat deposition that leads to sluggish metabolism in Indians. This leads to overproduction of sugar, especially during night. Such fat laden livers may also become dysfunctional and cirrhotic and may even turn cancerous.
  5. Genetically, Indians have the propensity to accumulate fat (adiposity) in the abdominal region and the liver, which leads to higher levels of hidden — deep belly visceral inflammatory — fat compared to the rest of the world
  6. Fatty Pancreas – Studies show that though a person may not be fat, pancreas accumulates fat easily, and which may cause dysfunction of insulin producing cells.
  7. Lifestyle changes –it doesn’t stop here, the main problem — as we see it — is that on top of all the above mentioned risk factors, we have become habitual to eat more packed food, more ready to eat and more sugar loaded, more high carbohydrate diet and top it with sedentary life style, further accelerates it. The shift to modern lifestyle is increasing the problem and driving Indians close to diabetes. We are eating more packaged food, more ready to eat and more sugar loaded.
  8. Myostatin Gene causes excess fat and low muscle mass in Indians.

Diabetes in India has a long history since ancient times. The oldest reference of this disease dates back to more than 4500 years. The name of the disease found in “Devik Yuga” tells it has been known and treated by Indians long ago. It has been mentioned in Chakradatta, Rasayana Chapter, Sloga 195, that Lord Shiva has dictated a formulation for the treatment of diabetes to his son Lord Ganesha, called ‘Siva Gutika’ , to rectify Lord Ganesha’s diabetes caused due to his excessive eating of sweets and sitting in same place for long.

Charaka Samhita (1500 BC), Sushruta Samhita (10th Century BC) also mention about diabetes and its complications and management.

Diagnosis of the disease gives an opportunity to get this state back to non-diabetic state by correcting life style, diet style and with exercise, if required with some medicines and supplements too.


Style if we keep on eating the same kind of food which lead to this situation, we are very likely to be headed for diagnosis. However, lots of evidence show that changes in the diet and lifestyle can cut the odds that diabetes will occur. When it does occur, right diet can alter its course, may it be the disease or its associated complications.

If our genes call for diabetes, we do not need to listen to them. We have more control than we can image.

Take Control in Your Hands Today!

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