One does not have to live with the harmful effects of diabetes if healthier lifestyles are adopted, a poll conducted by Curofy, an online network of 60,000 doctors from India, said.
The Curofy survey noted that three in five doctors in India believed that diabetes can be prevented if people adopt a healthy lifestyle. The doctors also said family history is not a major factor for diabetes prevalence in India.
Around 1,617 doctors participated in the Curofy survey, which was done to ascertain the reason behind a staggering increase in diabetic cases in India due to which the country is often called the diabetic capital of the world. India had 6.5 crore diabetics in 2014, according to official data.
According to the poll, 58.8 percent of the doctors attributed the prevalent lifestyle in urban cities as a major contributor to the diabetes in the country. Only 7.2 percent of doctors highlighted family history as a major factor.
"Yes, diabetes is a lifestyle problem. I firmly believe "Dharti Pe chalo aur Dharti ka khao", (whatever comes from the farm is good) anything processed has added sugar, added salt, and added maida," Sujeet Jha, director endocrinology, diabetes and obesity, Max Healthcare, said. Jha recommended 150 minutes per week walking and eating large amount of fresh fruits and vegetables as a key to prevent diabetes.
According to 65 percent of the doctors who participated in the survey, patients prefer alternate medicines (homeopathy) over their allopathic treatments.
"Patients prefer homeopathy medicines because they feel they would not have to consume them throughout their lives. Another wrong belief which the people have about neuropathy is that such medicines can cure them completely," Rajeev Patni, consultant diabetology and endocrinology, Santokba Durlabhji Memorial Hospital, Jaipur, said.
Doctors also said that there is a problem of adherence to drug and treatment schedules for diabetic patients in India.
Approximately 41.5 percent of the doctors believed only 40-60 percent of the patients adhere to the prescribed drug, whereas a significant 27.2 percent doctors said only 20-40 percent patients adhere to the given drug, which is a cause for real concern, the survey noted.
Nearly half of the diabetics in India are not checking their blood sugar levels regularly. The poll highlighted that 33.2 percent of the doctors feel that only 40-60 percent of their patients check their vitals regularly, whereas 32.6 percent of the doctors believed that only 20-40 percent of their patients track their blood sugar regularly.
Diabetes has a potential to lead to fatal illnesses like atherosclerosis (obstruction of blood flow by cholesterol) and neuropathy (weakness, numbness, pain in hands and feet).
"We conducted the survey to understand the tag India has as the diabetic capital of the world, and it is pretty clear that a lot of awareness is required not just for the patient but also on the part of the doctor," Mudit Vijayvergiya, co-founder of Curofy, said.