Diabetes is a growing health challenge in India


In India, diabetes poses a significant health challenge, and innovative solutions are needed to improve management and outcomes due to limited resources. During a session at ATTD 2023 in Berlin, Germany, top endocrinologists shared how they are tackling diabetes in India. Dr. Banshi Saboo, an endocrinologist at Dia-Care in India, highlighted that India has 17% of the global burden of diabetes, and 57% of adults with diabetes are undiagnosed. Despite advances in diabetes medications, the percentage of people with an A1C above 9% has increased over the years.

Dr. Rakesh Parikh, a chief endocrinologist in Jaipur, India, added that people of Indian origin develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age and at a lower BMI due to high fat in their bodies and natural insulin resistance. While continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) provide individualized and actionable insights, India does not have the resources to provide consistent access to CGMs. Dr. Amit Gupta, director of the Center for Diabetes Care in India, emphasized the importance of precision medicine in diabetes management. He shared how one patient improved their A1C by avoiding carbs after midnight, discovered through a two-week CGM trial.

India faces a shortage of doctors, with only one doctor for every 11,082 people. Coupled with low healthcare spending and lack of consistent insurance coverage, most Indians pay out of pocket for medical care. Despite these challenges, Indian health startups addressing telemedicine, neuropathy screening, and personalized diabetes care products are receiving more resources. Wearable devices with preventative care programs can guide patients on exercise for just 5% of the cost of an Apple watch. Dr. Jothydev Kesavadev, chairman of the Diabetes Research Center in Kerala, India, emphasized the importance of Indian physicians familiarizing themselves with DIY hybrid closed-loop systems used by many patients.