How does ZINC relate to diabetes?

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By Pavan Kaushik, Diabetes might be one of the most talked about diseases across the world and especially in India, but awareness about the same can well be estimated by the fact that India today has more people with type-2 diabetes. The WHO also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030.

HOW DOES ZINC RELATE TO DIABETES? Interestingly, ZINC has long been an ingredient used in “older” insulins, such as Regular, NPH, and Lente. ZINC is also necessary for the formation of insulin in the pancreas’s beta cells. For these reasons, researchers have looked at the role of zinc supplementation in the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes— but unfortunately, without success.

However, new light has been shed on the role of ZINC in diabetes. In this month’s issue of Diabetes Care, Finnish researchers followed 1,050 adults with Type 2 diabetes for seven years. During that time, 156 participants died from heart disease and 254 had fatal or nonfatal heart attacks. Blood ZINC levels were lower in people who died from heart disease compared to those who survived; also, ZINC levels were lower in those who had heart attacks. The authors of this study speculate that, possibly because ZINC has antioxidant properties, supplementation may be useful in warding off heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Another example of usages of ZINC…..

DIABETES has a harrowing background in India

The diabetes capital of the world with as many as 50 million people suffering from type-2 diabetes, India has a challenge to face. However, medical experts feel that timely detection and right management can go a long way in helping patients lead a normal life. Diabetes might be one of the most talked about diseases across the world and especially in India, but awareness about the same can well be estimated by the fact that India today has more people with type-2 diabetes (more than 50 million) than any other nation.

With the country having the highest number of diabetic patients in the world, the sugar disease is posing an enormous health problem to our country today. Often known as the diabetes capital of the world, India has been witnessing an alarming rise in incidence of diabetes according to the International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet on diabetes, an estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar.

The WHO also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030. It has been further estimated that the global burden of type-2 diabetes is expected to increase to 438 million by 2030 from 285 million people (recorded in 2010). Similarly, for India this increase is estimated to be 58%, from 51 million people in 2010 to 87 million in 2030. But debates, discussions and deliberations aside, the fundamental thing is to know what exactly is diabetes.

To put it simply, it is a medical condition that is caused due to insufficient production and secretion of insulin from the pancreas in case of Type-I diabetes and defective response of insulin Type-2 diabetes. Under normal body circumstances, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalise the glucose level. In patients with diabetes, the absence or insufficient production of insulin causes hyperglycaemia.

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, that is, it can be curbed at the initial level by introducing lifestyle changes and controlled after its incidence through medicines in early stages and administration of external insulin in advanced stages. But it would not be wrong to say that it cannot be cured completely and lasts a lifetime.

Diabetes mellitus is one of the world’s major diseases. It currently affects an estimated 143 million people worldwide and the number is growing rapidly. In India, about 5 per cent population suffers from diabetes. Medical health experts assert that regular check-ups and timely detection plays a vital role in controlling and managing the problem. Ironically, due to patient resistance and feeling of disbelief that ‘I can have diabetes too’, most patients tend to defer on detection and treatment that often leads to complications.

Practitioners feel that patient adherence to medication and lifestyle modifications play an important role in diabetes management and this can help them lead a normal life. Un-monitored prevalence of diabetes also results in increased risk of vascular complications like cardiovascular, renal, neural and visual disorders which are related to the duration of the disease.

 

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