Types of diabetes in India

diabetes mellitusDo you have a sedentary life style? Do you have a desk job sitting in front of computer at a stretch for six – eight hours? Well, in this case you better get the adrenalin pumping then.

Passive inactive life which involves poor exercise and zero management of calorie intake is like giving invitation to the world’s one of the most alarming disease – “Diabetes”.

India is facing an epidemic of diabetes. Over 65 million have now been diagnosed with diabetes in India. The CPR (Crude prevalence rate) in the urban areas of India is thought to be 9 per cent. In rural areas, the prevalence is approximately 3 per cent of the total population.

This means that India actually has the highest number of diabetics of any one country in the entire world. IGT (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) is also a mounting problem in India.

The prevalence of IGT( prediabetes) is thought to be around 8.7 per cent in urban areas and 7.9 per cent in rural areas, although this estimate may be too high. It is thought that around 35 per cent of IGT sufferers go on to develop type 2 diabetes, so India is genuinely facing a healthcare crisis.

In India, the type of diabetes differs considerably from that in the Western world. Type 1 is considerably more rare, and only about 1/3 of type II diabetics are overweight or obese.

Diabetes is also beginning to appear much earlier in life in India, meaning that chronic long-term complications are becoming more common. The implications for the Indian healthcare system are enormous.

Types of Diabetes

Although there are three main types of diabetes, there is also a stage before diabetes called pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes, also known as Impaired glucose tolerance is a condition where your Blood sugar level elevates to a level higher than the normal range for most people, but is still low enough not to be considered diabetes.

People who have pre-diabetes are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life if they do not monitor their condition carefully.

People who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes can help keep from progressing to a full blown diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes by watching their weight, exercising and eating the right foods.

Type 1 diabetes
The first main type of diabetes is Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the pancreas produces very little insulin or no insulin at all. People who get Type 1 diabetes are usually under the age of 20, usually presenting itself when the person is a child or young adult.

Some scientists believe that Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition where the cells of the Pancreas are attacked and then stop functioning. Others feel the disease may be caused by a virus that prompt the immune system to begin attacking the pancreas.

Because the pancreas cells that produce Insulin are destroyed, people who develop Type 1 diabetes will have the disease for life and will need treatment in the form of insulin shots or an insulin pump. In addition to insulin therapy, exercise and careful attention to diet is necessary to prevent fluctuations of blood sugar.

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is normally found in people who are overweight as they get older. Although it is sometimes called adult onset diabetes, in some country, such as the United States, more children and young adults are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because they are not getting enough activity.

About 90 percent of all cases of diabetes are Type 2 diabetes. The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that with Type 2 diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body does not properly use it.

Type 2 diabetes is sometimes considered a lifestyle disease because it is normally triggered by living a fairly sedentary life, being overweight and not participating in exercise. However, age is a factor as well as heredity. If a parent or sibling develops Type 2 diabetes later in life, a person has greater chances to getting Type 2 diabetes as well.

Gestational diabetes
The third main type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which is a condition that women can get when they are in the second trimester of pregnancy. About 4 percent of all pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes will disappear after the baby is born.

When a woman has an occurrence of gestational diabetes during pregnancy, she is more likely to have it again in the next pregnancy and puts the woman at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. The older a woman is when she is pregnant, the higher the risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.


Dr. Rajiv Kovil
Consultant Diabetologist,
Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre

Dr. Rajiv Kovil is a Consultant Diabetologist at Dr. Kovil’s Diabetes Care Centre, the first Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic in Mumbai, KLS Memorial Hospital and Holy Spirit Hospital among others. He is a founder member of United Diabetes Forum, a forum of practising diabetologists in India. He has also written various articles on diabetes for medical journals such as Asian Journal of Diabetology and Medical Image.

His Preventive Diabetes Centre & Diabetic Foot Clinic is an initiative to provide preventive diabetic measures as well as to function as a specialized Foot Clinic for diabetic patients not only in terms of equipment but more importantly in terms of expertise.

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