The Indian population has always had a genetic susceptibility to diabetes and now with signs of progress more and more Indians are being affected by this deadly disease.

In 20 years, projections are that there may be a staggering 75 million Indian diabetics

Diabetes is bankrupting people in the country, often the reasonably well off, and mainly because of a lack of insurance.

This article in the New York Times tells the story of P. Ganam

Her husband, K. Palayam, had diabetes do its corrosive job on him: ulcers bore into both feet and cost him a leg. To pay for his care in a country where health insurance is rare, P. Ganam sold all her cherished jewelry — gold, as she saw it, swapped for life.

She was asked about the necklaces and bracelets she was now wearing.

They were, as it happened, worthless impostors.

“Diabetes,” she said, “has the gold.”

And now, Ms. Ganam, the scaffolding of her hard-won middle-class existence already undone, has diabetes too.

In most parts of India, round and fat is implicitly considered a sign of wealth – a big belly on most men is taken to be a sign of prosperity and chubby kids are thought to be cuter.

Although diabetes is not as bad as AIDS or some of the deadly killers, it is definitely a lifelong silent killer with no cure and getting progressively worse as a person ages. In India, diabetes also has painful repurcussions with “diabetic foot” a condition peculiar to India where people go around barefoot and a diabetic person’s foot may get infected and have to be amputated.

As Indians are genetically more susceptible to diabetes, we should be more careful and try to be more aware and make the necessary lifestyle changes.