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Monday, November 13, 2006

Trends in Diabetes Care

Medical science continues to make rapid strides in the management of diabetes. A cure is in sight, if we keep the lifetimes of today’s babies in view. However, the trials which are in progress are beyond the reach of average people who are not doctors, so what can patients and their relatives do? Social workers are also seized of the rising incidence of diabetes, and feel impelled to do something meaningful with respect to this dreaded disease.

Here are 5 steps that people who are not doctors can take, to reduce the incidence of diabetes, to improve its management, and to mitigate the severity of its potentially debilitating effects:

1. Use free camps sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and by other organizations, to create awareness about the complications of diabetes. Many people, who prevaricate about testing and prevention, do not know that they can lose their eyes and feet, and damage their hearts and kidneys, due to diabetes.

Be wary of random blood sugar tests offered at such camps. They can mislead, and are not substitutes for fasting and post-prandial readings, glucose tolerance tests, and glycosylated hemoglobin readings. Moreover, hygiene and accidental viral transfers are real threats when the camps draw in large crowds of people eager for free tests.

2. Sugar, oil, and red meat substitutes are now available, and there is no harm in promoting their use even without a doctor’s prior prescription. Patients can always be counseled to ask their doctors about such products, and it would be rare for a doctor to say that a patient should not use them in moderation. Earlier posts in this web log mention specific products, and I can repeat this information by individual emails on request.

3. Campaign against scurrilous Complementary and Alternative Medicines. They harm the public interests by touring untested and possibly unsafe remedies for diabetes.

4. Spread word about the international spread in drug prices. This is not related to diabetes prevention, but relates to the costs of treatment. Internet sites generally offer spurious versions of top brands. However, since diabetes is a chronic condition, it makes sense to procure genuine medicines from the foreign operations of pharmaceutical companies. Reliable quality human insulin, under license of the innovator company, is available for about $3 per 400 units in India.

5. Join and support movements against fast food, and sodas with sugar. Ask popular icons to avoid endorsement of products which make people vulnerable to type 2 diabetes. Similarly, form walking clubs and apply peer pressure on people to exercise regularly, if they have approval to do so from their doctors.

You do not need a medical degree to make a difference to the fight against diabetes!


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