Today, April 7, is the World health day and this year the World Health Organization is focussing on Diabetes. “Beat Diabetes” is the slogan and WHO aim is to increase the awareness on prevention and treatment of Diabetes throughout the world.
Sadly the first news that I heard on this day was that of the demise of a 25 years old man in Kattappana in Kerala, India due to this disease. Unfortunately it is the lack of awareness in how to go about treating his Diabetes that resulted in this unnecessary loss of life.
He was very obese and began taking a widely advertised pseudo scientific “natural” product for reducing his weight. His weight reduced drastically but his blood sugars went up sharply too. He then began taking similar “natural” product for reducing blood sugar as he was very much impressed with the weight loss. Sadly he did not realise that probably his weight loss might have been due to Diabetes, may be even type 1 Diabetes (insulin dependent Diabetes), though type 2 is more common in obese.
He was brought to emergency department of a local hospital on Tuesday night in a very sick state and found to have very high blood sugar. He was asked to get admitted to start insulin and intravenous fluids, but the advice was not heeded as he had still faith in pseudo science. By early morning he was again brought to the hospital, but this time dead.
Diabetes is the condition that I deal with most in my practice. Over eating and sedentary habits are fueling diabetic epidemic in India. Ignorance and irrational fear about scientific medicines and too much belief in pseudo science (as in this instance) are major obstacles that I find in preventing complications in my diabetic patients. The message that every one should get on this world health day is that there are no short cuts and the scientific approach is the only way to beat Diabetes.