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‘Am I at risk’ in epidemic like scenario of diabetes mellitus

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By Dr.J.K. Bhutani

The Indians are fast emerging as the most DIABETES prone people in the world. The urban-rural, rich-poor, young-old difference is becoming insignificant. Most of this burden is of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The current population of people with diabetes is more than 380 million which is estimated to rise above 592 million by 2035. Type 2 diabetes affects one in 12 people and almost half of these are in pre-diabetic hidden state. The genetics, obesity, sedentary life, changing food habits and lifestyle are all important risk factors.

The Indian diabetes scene is dismal as more and more young people are getting the disease and the chronic complications rates are the highest in the world. The poor health seeking behaviour, denial mode and the multiplicity of irrational remedies further add to the complication rate. The early diagnosis helps to prevent the deadly complications, thus ensuring healthier life and reasonable healthcare costs.

In the current epidemic like scenario, often the question is asked, ‘Am I at risk too?’ We all are, and we need to calculate our risks and how prone we are. A blood sugar test, glucose tolerance test or an HbA1c test is a sure way to diagnose diabetes, but one can assess the risk of developing diabetes by the following simple personal checks and measurements.

1) Body Weight: Being overweight puts an individual at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. To calculate the ideal body weight, just use this formula

Ideal body weight = Height in centimetres – 100 cm (for males)

Ideal body weight = Height in centimetres – 105 cm (for females)

2) BMI (Body mass Index): BMI = weight in kg/height in m2, a healthy BMI into a healthy range is important to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases and type 2 diabetes. Since even non obese Indians are predisposed to diabetes, the suggested cut offs for BMI is 22.9 kg/m in Asian Indians as against 25 kg/m in Caucasians. Many BMI calculators are available for online and offline use.

obesity

3) Body fat around the waist: Central obesity is a common culprit of lifestyle diseases. One is more predisposed to lifestyle diseases if your waistline is more than 35 inches/90cm in males and 32 inches/80 cm in case of female. Since an individual cannot change his/her height, s/he should take special care to keep the weight and in particular abdominal girth in the healthy range.

4) The waist-to-height ratio: WHtR gives a more accurate assessment of health since the most dangerous place to carry weight is in the abdomen. Fat in the abdomen, which is associated with a larger waist, is metabolically active and produces various hormones that can cause harmful effects, such as type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

waist

If you find any abnormality in these measure tape parameters then you must go for a blood sugar, GTT or an HbA1c test for detection and confirmation of type 2 Diabetes.
Government of India has recently launched the National Programme on Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases and Stroke (NPDCS) in 2008 and plans to extend it throughout India for such help at all Primary health facilities.
You may also refer to following web pages for various diabetes risk calculators.

JK1Dr J.K. Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self healing powers of human organism.
You can follow him at  https://twitter.com/drjkbhutani

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New AI Model by Google Can Help Detect Diabetic Retinopathy

For this purpose, it recently launched the "Google AI Impact Challenge"

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Google's new AI model to help detect diabetic retinopathy. Pixabay

Google has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that can detect diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with human retinal specialists, the technology giant said.

Google is working on “rolling out this diabetic retinopathy initiative in clinics in India with Verily” — an Alphabet-owned company which works on life sciences research and development, Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. A third of them have diabetic retinopathy — a complication that can cause permanent blindness.

“Using the new assistive technology, doctors and staff can screen more patients in less time, sparing people from blindness through a more timely diagnosis,” Walker said.

While the blindness can be prevented, diabetic retinopathy often goes undetected because people do not always get screenings.

“In major part, this is due to limited access to eye care specialists and staff capable of screening for the disease. This is a problem that AI can help us solve,” Walker said.

“Deploying this technology in underserved communities that don’t have enough eye specialists could be life-changing for many,” Walker added.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

Google began work on the model in collaboration with eye specialists in India and the US a few years back. They developed an AI system to help doctors analyse images of the back of the eye for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

“The results were promising,” Walker noted, while adding “we should work to make the benefits of AI available to everyone”.

Google has for several years applied AI research and engineering to projects in Asia Pacific with positive societal impact, including stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia, forecasting floods in India, and conserving native bird species in New Zealand, the blog post read.

Also Read- U.S.A: Myanmar’s Military Campaign Against Rohingya Muslims a ‘Mass Genocide’

Besides healthcare, the tech giant also wants to support more Asia Pacific organisations in using AI to help society by engaging with governments, non-profit organisations, universities and businesses.

For this purpose, it recently launched the “Google AI Impact Challenge”.

“Selected organisations who apply to the challenge will receive support from Google’s AI experts and Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool,” Walker said. (IANS)