India will become diabetic capital by 2025

  
Diabetes affects all the blood vessels in the body and the most affected part of the body is foot, followed by eyes and heart. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, five years down the line, irrespective of your sugar levels, you will develop neuropathy, where nerves from the foot upwards weakens step by step causing numbing and loss of sensation. Nearly 80 per cent of patients develop neuropathy, which damages the nerves leading to loss of sensation and sometimes amputation.

The other health complication is developing blocked arteries or, what is known as Peripheral Arterial Diseases (PAD) and the Peripheral Vascular Diseases (PVD). About 70 per cent of them develop heart diseases due to blockage in blood vessels causing heart attacks, strokes and leg attack.

According to Dr K R Suresh, Director and Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Jain Institute of Vascular Sciences (JIVAS), leg is the most vulnerable part to develop complications. “Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is mandatory to wear proper diabetic footwear both indoors and outdoors. What is more alarming is that even the educated class is not aware about footcare and they consult doctor only after the damage done,” he said.

Prolonged exposure

Dr Suresh said that many patients suffer an injury or burns, while visiting temple. “Diabetic patients come to us with burnt legs caused due to prolonged exposure to heat while standing on floor or after stepping on a coconut shell,” he said. More than 90 per cent of diabetic patients do not realise the existing infections. They realise the condition only when it develops into a visible ulcer, he said.

Dr A S Vinaya, podiatrist at JIVAS said that the awareness among city-dwellers was very low while the people in the rural areas are clueless about the importance of footwear. “Only 10 per cent patients are aware about diabetic footcare in the cities.

To explain the importance of footwear to villagers is a challenging job,” she said.
Prolonged negligence sometimes results in amputation of the leg due to gangrene. Dr Pavan M R, podiatrist at the Karnataka Institute of Diabetology (KID) said that more than 50 per cent of patients with gangrene do not have any symptoms. “Gangrene can occur due to multi-factorial conditions. Sometimes it occurs within few years of diabetes. Gangrene is caused mainly due to ignorance, infection and decreased blood flow,” he said.

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