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Delayed diagnosis poses high risk for diabetics

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a condition characterised by an excess of glucose in the bloodstream due to defects in both insulin production and insulin sensitivity. Delayed diagnosis poses a high risk of other associated health conditions like heart diseases, kidney failure, stroke and vision loss.

Delayed diagnosis poses high risk for diabetics


A study ‘Time2DoMore in Diabetes’, conducted in Chennai, last year, revealed that 88 per cent patients were prescribed medication immediately after the first consultation. This means that they have already developed Type 2 Diabetes and had a delayed diagnosis. About 46 per cent of the diagnosed patients in Chennai were not worried about the risks and complications of Type 2 Diabetes in the future, say medicos.

Patients also have limited awareness about managing the condition to maintain their blood sugar levels. Close to 85 per cent of patients have incorrect notion that the best thing to manage hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is eating a high calorie chocolate bar. A recent ‘Verify Study’ survey published in the ‘Lancet’, is the first to investigate the long-term clinical benefits of early combination treatment strategy for effective management of Type 2 Diabetes. The result further affirms how important early treatment is for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic patients.

Jayashree Gopal, diplomate of the American Board in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes and senior consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, SIMS Hospital, said, “When diabetes is first detected, control of blood sugars seems relatively easy with the use of 1-2 medicines. With the passage of time, the control of diabetes becomes more difficult and people need to use multiple medicine or insulin. It is seen that even though people maintain good blood sugar level, it leads to complications like heart attack or stroke. Studies over the last few years have shown that good control of diabetes after diagnosis led to less complications in long term than taking precaution on a later stage after many years of diagnosis.”

He added that ‘Verify Study’ establishes on starting combination treatment (more than one medicine) immediately after diagnosis, that helps delay disease progression. Some patients might not be comfortable taking two medicines, but this could significantly bring down the risk of a heart attack or stroke, in the future.

 Diabetic patients in India are 10 years younger and weigh less compared to their western counterparts. Factors such as glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes), under diagnosis and/or delayed diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes are causing a rapid increase in the disease burden in India.

Proper insulin method is needed for managing diabetes

The need of the hour is to raise awareness about management of Type 2 Diabetes and importance of early treatment. Insulin therapy is often a crucial part of diabetes management. Type 2 diabetic patients ultimately require insulin therapy in the course of the disease for effective glycemic control and injection technique remains crucial in the process.

Dr A Sundaram, professor & Head of Department of Diabetology (retd) Government Kilpauk Medical College & Tagore Medical College said, “For people with diabetes on insulin, the understanding and practice of injection technique has the potential to make a real difference in their lives. The correct practice helps them to deliver their insulin more effectively, reduces discomfort and minimises the risk of developing associated complications such as lipohypertrophy.”

The experts also emphasised that incorrect insulin injection technique could lead to lipohypertrophy, which is a thickened, rubbery swelling under the skin at the patient’s usual injection spots. Lipohypertrophy can lead to poor glycemic control, hypoglycemia and glycemic variability. 

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