Madurai, 12th November 2021: India continues to witness a rise in its diabetic population and is deemed as the ‘Diabetes capital of the world’. With the aim to increase awareness on the observance of World Diabetes Day on 14th November, leading physician Dr A. J. Asirvatham, Consultant Diabetologist, Chairman, RSSDI TN Chapter, Arthur Asirvatham Hospital, Madurai emphasizes on better diabetes management and safe insulin injection practices among people living with diabetes in the country.
As per experts, the 77 million people living with diabetes in India as per 2019 statistics is projected to reach an alarming 134 million figure by 2045. This trend results in increased need for medical care, a reduced quality of life for the patients and undue stress on families. Moreover, diabetes if not well managed and controlled timely, can lead to frequent hospital admissions, complications, deterioration of health and in many instances also be a cause of premature death.
Emphasizing on the need of the hour for increased awareness on Diabetes, Dr A. J. Asirvatham, says, “The incidence of Diabetes in India is rapidly on the rise and is occurring even among all age groups – young and old. A change towards a healthier lifestyle, regular check-ups, preventive care, right medication plan, timely treatment are the core of enhanced diabetes care and management. World Diabetes Day gives us the opportunity to reiterate the importance of controlling and treating diabetes to curb both the rise and severity of the disease. It is also critical that patients on insulin therapy be educated on the right techniques and practices to avoid any resulting complications that may occur due to incorrect means of insulin administration.”
It is important that patients opt only for single use pen needles and insulin syringes to curb the risk of complications and poor glycemic management due to incorrect injection technique. Multiple reuse of needles can damage tissues, leading to dosage inaccuracy, and can put patients at a significant risk of developing lipohypertrophy, a condition of thickened, rubbery swelling of the fat tissue at the patient’s usual injection sites. 4 mm pen needles, and 6 mm syringe needles are recommended for all adults, children and adolescents. The medication can be injected into the healthy fatty layer under the skin in areas around abdomen, upper thighs, upper arms and upper buttock. Correct site rotation practice should be followed to maintain healthy injection sites.
Talking about the impact of Covid on diabetic patients, Dr Asirvatham adds, “A study indicates that those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for COVID-19 hospitalization and illness severity than people without diabetes. Hence, enhanced care for diabetes patients during the pandemic is paramount. Patients must be extra cautious of storing, using and injecting insulin correctly and safely. Awareness on correct insulin administration technique plays a critical role in therapy adoption, adherence and management of diabetes, especially in these sensitive times.”
Healthcare technologies and techniques have vastly improved over the years in India and patients must make their health a priority. Obesity and being over-weight are high risk factors responsible for developing diabetes. People living with diabetes should carefully monitor their lifestyle as good glycaemic control, healthy diet, regular exercise and taking insulin properly can help control the onset of severe complications and risks associated with diabetes such as diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, gum diseases or foot problems, among others. Maintaining a healthy BMI, ensuring regular check-ups and keeping a tab on sugar levels, especially if one is a COVID-recovered patient is important.