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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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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

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Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

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First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

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An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)