Prediabetes: An Alarming Health Condition

Rising incidence of Prediabetes and the looming threat of a diabetes epidemic in India

Dr. P. Rammanohar
Dr. P. Rammanohar
Dr P Rammanohar is the Research Director at Amrita School of Ayurveda. He has received BAMS degree from Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore and MD (Ay) degree from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengaluru. He has been contributing in the field of Ayurvedic research from more than 30 years. His publications include research papers in indexed journals and chapters in subject related books.

Last Updated on May 16, 2022 by Neelam Singh

The International Diabetes Federation estimated that 72.9 million adults in India were living with diabetes in 2017. The prevalence of diabetes in India has risen from 7.1 per cent in 2009 to 8.9 per cent in 2019. The incidence is higher in urban areas. It is estimated that there will be 134 million people living with diabetes in India by 2045 and that one in six Indians is prediabetic.

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2018, the estimated prevalence of prediabetes in India is 14 per cent. Still, the actual numbers may be higher as prediabetes is an asymptomatic condition and due to inadequate testing. WHO states that India is the diabetes capital of the world. Prevention measures and early intervention in the prediabetes stage by screening the population at risk are essential in dealing with the diabetic epidemic in India.

What Really Works?

Dietary and lifestyle modifications have been found effective for the management of prediabetes. DiRECT, short for Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, reported for the first time that weight management can even reverse diabetes without any pharmacological intervention. Almost half (45.6%) of those who took part in the program were in remission after a year. The second-year results of the trial showed that, of these people, 70 per cent were still in remission by the end of year two.

What Ayurveda Says?

The Ayurvedic treatment approach for diabetes includes specific dietary and lifestyle regimens apart from pharmacological interventions. Ayurveda considers pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes of recent onset to be reversible. The Kapha dominant stage of diabetes can be correlated with prediabetes. Ayurveda recommends intense physical activity and diet modifications to treat this condition. Ayurvedic Nutritional Therapy (ANT), based on the Ayurvedic concept of nutrition and dietary regimen for diabetes, offers a culture-specific diet tailored to individual constitution. Ayurveda Behavioral Lifestyle Intervention (ABLI) is based on the principles of Dincharya (daily routine) and Ritucharya (seasonal routine). Herbal adjuvants with cleansing therapy are recommended to correct metabolism to improve clinical outcomes. Along with a personalized exercise regimen and yoga practice, Ayurvedic interventions in pre-diabetes have the potential to avert the public health catastrophe of a diabetes epidemic that looms large.

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