In therun-up to World Diabetes Day,Dr Samar Banerjee, Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata, held a roundtable meeting in Kolkata to highlight the importance of managing diabetes amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.The average HbA1C level – the best indicator of a patient’s long-term blood sugar control, stood at 7.96% in September 2020, registering an improvement over the last year for people living with diabetes in Kolkata.Dr Subhankar Chowdhury also discussed the trends that have emerged in diabetes management based on the data presented in the recently unveiled, Second-year report of Impact India: 1000-day Challenge by Novo Nordisk Education Foundation. Dr Binayak Sinha, Consultant in Diabetes & Endocrinology, AMRI Hospitals, SaltLake, Kolkata, highlighted the ambition of IMPACT India: The 1000-day challenge program of Novo Nordisk Education Foundation and discussed the key physician, patient and societal oriented capacity building and awareness activities conducted under the program.
Speaking about awareness of diabetes, Dr Binayak Sinha stressed that “It is important to build awareness of the debilitating complications of diabetes like loss of sight, kidney failure, heart diseases, etc. in the society so that they are motivated to follow healthy lifestyle practices and manage diabetes well”
The latest findings of the India Diabetes Care Index (IDCI®) suggest that glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c level has decreased from 8.24% to 7.96% in Kolkata since 2018. The HbA1c is the best recommended indicator of long-term blood sugar control and gives average blood sugar control for 3 months.
Speaking about the decreased HbA1c level in Kolkata,Dr Subhankar Chowdhury, President, Endocrine Society of Bengal said that “For two consecutive years now, people living with diabetes in Kolkata have registered a decrease in their average HbA1c levels. Despite staying at home for extended periods this year due to the COVID-19 induced restrictions, Kolkatians have managed to maintain their blood glucose levels well. This is a sign of relief as people with diabetes have up to 50% higher risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19.”
The effective management of diabetes can be achieved with healthy diet, regular physical exercise and consistent monitoring of diabetes level. People with diabetes should keep an adequate stock of medications and supplies for monitoring blood glucose at home. If symptoms like difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell are experienced, immediate medical attention should be sought.
iDCI is a part of the ‘Impact India: 1000-Day Challenge’ programme by Novo Nordisk Education Foundationand serves as a guiding tool for the status of diabetes care across India. iDCI was introduced in 2018 as part of the programme to monitor the diabetes care status of the country. Based on big data analytics, iDCI has been providing a real-time view of the average HbA1c in India, a key indicator of the state of diabetes control across select cities.
At present, more than 77 million people are living with diabetes in India. Under the IMPACT India programme, digital platforms are also being leveraged to partner with practitioners (doctors and paramedics) to evolve and implement an approach to diabetes care appropriate to India. iDCI is a dynamic tool that not only tracks the status of diabetes care but also helps to increase awareness, motivate and sensitize healthcare professionals (HCPs) and the society.The last two years of the programme have seen significant contributions from healthcare practitioners (HCPs), and people living with diabetes from across the country. There has been an improving trend in the iDCI® results every quarter, and this will lead to a reduction in the future burden of diabetes-related complications in India.