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Why India is the diabetes capital of the world ?

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India’s economic development has brought higher incomes, improved health and social conditions over the past several decades; but it also brought a new health ailment known as diabetes. India currently represents 49 percent of the world’s diabetes patient burden, with an estimated 72 million cases in 2017 alone. And this figure expected to almost double to 134 million by 2025.

Is diabetes a serious disease ?

Yes. Diabetes is a kind of metabolic ailment in which the body is incapable of producing insulin, leading to high blood glucose in the body leading cardio vascular diseases, kidney ailments, eye problems etc. Diabetes requires daily personal diet care and if there is a complication, it can have a significant impact on quality of life and can even reduce life expectancy. Though there is no cure for diabetes, one can live a comfortable and enjoyable life by adapting and learning about the conditions and effectively managing it. There are different types of diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, which occurs when the body loses the ability to make insulin or can only make a very small amount of insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by an autoimmune process, and in which the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells. About 10% of individuals with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is caused by a dual defect of resistance to the action of insulin combined with an inability to make enough insulin to overcome the resistance. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and represents around 80 per cent of diabetes worldwide. Gestational Diabetes , it caused during pregnancy.

What are the primary causes for diabetes ?

Lack of exercise

Exercise of any kind, enables muscle cells to use insulin and glucose more efficiently, thus lowering diabetes risk. Lack of exercise can cause muscle cells to lose their sensitivity to insulin, which controls levels of sugar in the blood. According to a survey by an insurance firm, around 30% of Indians aged between 18-47 years do not have any form of physical exercise particularly in urban areas. In rural areas, the prevalence is less. How ? rural based population has a physically vigorous lifestyle which makes them immune to diabetes.

Hereditary factors

The epidemic increase in diabetes in India backed by many studies on migrant and native Indian show that Indians have an increased predilection to diabetes and the main reason genetic factor. Genetic susceptibility appears to play an important role in the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes.

Sedentary life style

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The country is currently undergoing a rapid transition with increased urbanization through the country. For example, urbanization rate around 25 per cent compared to 8 per cent in the 1950’s and this had a major effect on the health of the population. Thereby increase disease and health related complications. Studies have proved that socio-economic development over the last four decades have brought tremendous change in the lifestyle leading to the reduction of physical activities due to technological advancement, affluence leading to consumption of diets rich in sugar, fat and calories and a high mental stress. This has led to obesity and a sedentary life style, which ultimately disturbed insulin production and caused diabetes. That is the reason why diabetes among urban residents is higher when compared to their rural counterparts both in north and south India.

Obesity and diabetes

Being overweight increases the chances of getting diabetes (Type 2). According to a recent study in North India, there was a high prevalence of abdominal obesity and generalized obesity as determined by presence of body fat. Another study showed that overweight (obesity) significantly associated with diabetes. Obesity among the children played a causative role in the escalating prevalence of diabetes in the young. How ? The researchers found that obesity causes huge pressure in a system of cellular membranes which in turn suppresses the signals of insulin receptors, which then leads to insulin resistance. Technically, overeating stresses the membranous network present inside of cells (endoplasmic reticulum (ER)). When the ER has more nutrients than it needs to process, it sends out an alarm signal telling the cell to reduce down the insulin receptors on the cell surface. This translates to the insulin resistance method and to the persistently high presence of the sugar glucose in the blood – which is best signs of diabetes.


The increase in the diabetic population in the country is mainly due to strong genetic factors tied with rapid urbanization and lifestyle modification. Since Indians have appear to be generally more insulin resistant (both genetics and lifestyle complications), it would be prudent to advise a healthy lifestyle across the different geographic regions with regard to age groups, proper diet schedule (rich in fibres), follow an exercise (yoga or any other physical activities). Such efforts are urgently needed to tackle the sudden increase in diabetes and lower the burden of the Indian social and economic conditions.

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