India: Ignorance, Thy Name Is Diabetes!

India, as most of you know, has the largest number of diabetics after China. Unfortunately, knowledge about diabetes management in my country is a notch above zilch. Besides “shun (crystal) sugar” and “exercise”, 99 percent Indian diabetics know next to nothing about diabetes (I’m not making this up).

Since I’m a journalist, I started a blog ‘Diabetes Dialectics’ to introduce fellow diabetics to the latest news and research in the field. Seeing the traffic on my blog, I am convinced that the 99 percent figure is correct - I get more visitors from North America and Britain than from the Indian subcontinent leading me to believe that even those who know the English language (and therefore educated to at least high-school level) are as ignorant about diabetes as their unlettered countrymen/women.

Currently I’m experimenting with Google Language Tools to translate my posts into at least Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, and Bengali - the most spoken Indian languages (India has over 20 ‘official’ languages spoken by over 1 billion people). Let’s see how it goes as I’m a one-man show at the moment.

I’m happy to be part of the tudiabetes community. I hope to learn more about building a similar community here. Thank you for the warm welcome.

Good man, it takes tons of effort because of all the preconceptions of diabetes

Hi There and Welcome!

There are at least 2 Drs. from India who are Members here. If I am not mistaken, they are having some success dealing with Diabetic foot problems.

Diabetes is a complicated disease for sure, so Best Wishes to you in your much needed endeavours.

I should add, that there is some ignorance unfortunately, in North America also. “Thy name is Diabetes!” I like that. :slight_smile:

Sorry to go over the board a little i am not trying to prove that Indian are more educated about diabetes!!! I do not understand how you arrived at your statistics of 99%. your statements make me believe that only people who are not aware of diabetes come to your website. This is a ridiculous statement. In India primary source of information for people is through mouth of word and people have a general tendency to not just believe something off the web. People tend to trust the information only when it comes from their doctors, friends and family.

Finally Diabetes is a complicated disease and there are several things that Doctors are trying to understand. This is one disease that has produced more Nobel prizes than any other topic.

coming to the reality, yes i do agree that there is comparatively lesser understanding about the disease.

Sorry for all this its just that i am obsessed with statistics and the reason behind those results and numbers!!!

Your country has some of the best and most brilliant scientists in the world. I hope they can make gains in diabetes for us all. I wish you the best for your reach-out in India.

Hey, let’s not quibble about stats…99% is just a expression to show extent…let me tell you what happened today…Talking to my pastor sister (who is pre-diabetic and lives and works in a rural parish) in Andhra Pradesh in southern India, I casually inquired if she was on the diabetic diet I had suggested…She said yes, “except when I visit parishoners who serve (deep-fried, oily) chicken curry (to honor the visiting pastors)”…When I asked if she insisted on a more frugal meal, she told me: “Bhaiyya (brother), all of them are diabetic and they couldn’t care less!”…(so there you are)…and btw, what I said was that only the alert and concerned visit my website…and while it is true that “in India primary source of information for people is through mouth of word and people have a general tendency to not just believe something off the web (and) people tend to trust the information only when it comes from their doctors, friends and family”, it only helps in spreading even more ignorance and greater reliance on untested ayurvedic concoctions, quacks and even tantriks (witch doctors)…see my post ‘Shortage Of Vascular Surgeons In India Costs 80,000 Limbs Every Year’ @

Keep on sharing yourself in your country and beyond …all the best in all your endeavors !

What we need is more diabetes related infrastructure…for starters, the government is finally seized of the problem and the world’s biggest diabetes census gets underway in October…The results will certainly be eye-popping, and the government is expected to spend more resources to contain the epidemic…and btw, more than printed literature (save the forests) and blogs, what is required is more diabetes educators…but alas, the country spends less than 3% of its GDP on healthcare and diabetes is but a minuscule part of the problems India faces…

Has there been any major shift in food additives or pesticides/herbicides in the last 20-30 years?

more pesticides, yes…but the larger problem is basically food scarcity and, therefore, malnourishment…

malnutrition often can lead to cheaper food, which may contain additives. High Fructose Corn Syrup is getting a lot of attention in the US right now. it was initially added to food about the same time the increase in obesity/metabolic syndrome/T2 diabetes started here. What type are you primarily seeing there, T1 or T2?

I really do not have data to answer your question at the moment…will research…however, additives are hardly used in India…but let me check (there are hardly any research studies that I’m aware of)…

To answer Scott’s question - it is overwhelmingly T2. T1 is very very rare amongst Asians. In an Asian context, when people talk about ‘diabetes’ they mean T2.

Roger is right about the scary ignorance. When I was first dx, I spent a lot of time reading everything I could find online about diabetes. I had to sort through a lot of chaff and no offence meant, but a lot of the chaff was on Indian websites. (Maybe coz I was looking at English material; I might have found lots of chaff on e.g. Korean or Chinese websites!)