Mumbai: With diabetes affecting a large section of India’s population, the chronic health condition can adversely affect the country’s economic growth, experts have warned.
“The financial burden of diabetes on India over the next 10 years can increase drastically and threaten the productivity level of the workforce in the country and loss of national income,” said Dr. Avinash Phadke of SRL Diagnostics in Mumbai.
“Diabetes must be made a national health priority, else it will impact India’s growth as an emerging economy,” Phadke said.
A recent study from the University of East Anglia showed that it reduces people’s employment chances and wages around the world.
The study published earlier this year in the journal PharmacoEconomics looked into the economic impact of Type-II diabetes worldwide.
They were surprised to find not only a large cost burden in high-income countries but also in low and middle-income countries – where people with this disease and their families face high costs for treatment.
“Diabetes affects 382 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 592 million by 2035. It is a chronic disease that has spread widely in recent decades – not only in high-income countries, but also in many populous low and middle-income countries such as India and China,” said lead researcher Till Seuring.
Phadke said that diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with more than 62 million individuals currently diagnosed with the disease.
“It may affect 79.4 million individuals by 2030,” Phadke pointed out.
Some diabetics with plaque buildup in their arteries might have less debris in these blood vessels after adding wine to their diets, a recent study suggests.
For the study, researchers examined data on 224 people with type 2 diabetes who normally didn’t drink alcohol but were randomly assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet and drink approximately one glass of red wine, white wine or water for days. Among the subset of 174 people with ultrasound images of their arteries, 45 percent had a detectable plaque at the start of the study.
Two years later, researchers didn’t see any significant increase in plaque for any of the participants with ultrasounds, regardless of whether they drank wine or water.
However, among the people who started out with the most plaque in their arteries, there was a small but statistically meaningful reduction in these deposits by the end of the study, researchers report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Among patients with well-controlled diabetes and a low risk for alcohol abuse, initiating moderate alcohol consumption in the context of a healthy diet is apparently safe and may modestly reduce cardiometabolic risk,” said lead study author Rachel Golan, a public health researcher at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel.
“Our study is not a call for all patients with type 2 diabetes to start drinking,” Golan said by email.
In addition to plaque in the arteries, other risk factors include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high cholesterol, smoking and having poor diet and exercise habits.
In the current study, all of the participants had the most common form of the disease, known as type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and aging and occurs when the body can no longer produce or use the hormone insulin to convert sugars in the blood into energy.
Participants were part of a larger study looking at people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
They were typically in their late 50s or early 60s and most of them were overweight or obese. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of them took medications to lower cholesterol or other blood fats and the majority of them also took diabetes drugs to control blood sugar.
Patients were told to follow a Mediterranean diet, which typically includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. This diet also tends to favor lean sources of protein like chicken or fish over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.
Participants were provided with wine or mineral water throughout the study period along with a 150-milliliter (5.07-ounce) glass to measure the daily dose of their assigned beverage, which was consumed with dinner.
Some previous research has linked a Mediterranean diet to weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers as well as better management of blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Another drawback is that researchers only had ultrasound images of plaque buildup for a small proportion of patients, and the two-year follow-up period might not be long enough to detect meaningful differences in plaque accumulation.
Alcohol may help, but it also isn’t risk-free, noted Dr. Gregory Marcus, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn’t involved in the study. It can increase the risk of heart rhythm problems, which can cause stroke, Marcus said by email.
Even though alcohol might help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in some circumstances, there isn’t enough evidence yet to suggest that people who avoid alcohol should start drinking, Marcus said.
“I would certainly recommend against starting to drink alcohol in the hopes of obtaining beneficial health effects among anyone that currently abstains,” Marcus said. “And among those who drink, these sorts of positive results should never be used to consume more alcohol, particularly beyond drinking in moderation.” (VOA)