Diabetes susceptibility higher in low-income groups, polluted areas: Expert

Srinagar, Nov 15: In a significant revelation, eminent cardiologist Dr Upendra Kaul emphasised that individuals from lower-income groups and those residing in polluted areas are more susceptible to diabetes.

Dr Kaul made these remarks during an awareness session organised by the Gauri Kaul Foundation (GKF) in collaboration with the University of Kashmir (KU).

The session aimed to educate the public on diabetes, its causes, and preventive measures.

The awareness session, coincided with World Diabetes Day, with the GKF striving to raise awareness and ensure accessibility to diabetes treatment.

Eminent cardiologist Prof Upendra Kaul emphasised that controlling diabetes means protecting your heart, underscoring the interconnection between diabetes and heart health.

Dr Kaul, who serves as the Founding Director of GKF, highlighted a common misconception surrounding diabetes.

“There is this misconception that only people belonging to the upper strata of income can get diabetes, but the fact is reverse,” he said.

Dr Kaul said that diabetes was primarily a lifestyle disease and could be managed through conscious choices.

“It can be controlled if we consume less rice, less bread, ensure brisk walking, keep our BMI under control, and maintain a healthy weight,” he said.

Apart from addressing diabetes, the experts at the session also raised concerns about pre-diabetes.

Dr Kaul said that 25 percent of the population in the region was pre-diabetic.

“Pre-diabetes is identified in individuals whose HbA1c levels range from 5.5 to less than 6.5. Educating people about ways to control diabetes can postpone or even reverse its onset,” he said.

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Dr Kaul emphasised the need for a collective effort beyond medical interventions, stating that governments should construct public parks and organise periodic health camps.

He emphasised the importance of awareness campaigns, saying, “We have invited professors; a teaching professor can educate thousands of people. Precautions, identification, and periodic health camps should be held.”

The event, organised by the Gauri Kaul Foundation in collaboration with KU, featured various experts addressing different aspects of diabetes.

The topics included ‘Diabetes: An Emerging Health Issue’ by Dr Bashir Ahmad Laway and ‘From Sweet to Beat: Protecting Your Heart and Diabetes-related IHD and Heart Failure’ by Dr Upendra Kaul.

Dr Muhammad Hayat Bhat covered ‘Balancing Act: Endocrinology Insights on Diabetes Management’ while Dr Zubair Saleem, a Senior Geriatrics Consultant, discussed ‘Ageing Gracefully with Diabetes’.

The session concluded with a question-and-answer segment.

Prof Bashir Laway, Head of Endocrinology at SKIMS, presented an overview of the burden of diabetes and pre-diabetes in India and Kashmir.

He stressed the importance of community engagement in educating people about preventing and managing diabetes.

Head of Endocrinology at SSH, GMC Srinagar, Prof M Hayat Bhat discussed preventive strategies for diabetes and its complications, emphasising the need for proper awareness and urging people to take the threat seriously.

Addressing the topic of ‘Ageing with Diabetes’, Senior Geriatric Consultant, Dr Zubair Saleem highlighted that delaying the ageing process means postponing the onset of various diseases, including diabetes.

He emphasised that preventive strategies should be adopted from childhood, blending both art and science.

“The science involves a low-calorie but nutrient-rich diet, ample water intake, regular exercise, stress management through meditation, and abstaining from smoking, drugs, and alcohol. The art is the willpower to adhere to these scientific guidelines,” Dr Saleem said.

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Dean of Academic Affairs, Prof Farooq Masoodi, thanked the speakers for enlightening the audience about diabetes care and stressed the need for more collaborative programs to educate people about a healthy lifestyle.

The expert lectures were followed by a question-and-answer session where faculty and students sought clarification on diabetes, heart health, and ageing.

Those present at the event included Senior Cardiologist Prof Khurshid Iqbal; Registrar Dr Nisar Mir; Joint Registrar, Dr Ashfaq Zarri; Senior Internist, Dr Shabbir Ahmad.

The Organizing Secretary, Dr Khalid Nazir, and the Coordinators of the Health Centre, Dr Iqra Mehraj and Dr Azhar A Wani, were also in attendance.

Dr Suraya Jan presented the vote of thanks, acknowledging everyone’s participation and contribution to the informative session.

Boehringer Ingelheim was the academic partner of the event.

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