Practo Survey: People with Diabetes Choose Health Over Pills

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India, 14th November 2023: Practo, India’s leading digital healthcare company’s latest survey reveals that 70% of people with diabetes (diabetic and pre-diabetic patients) want to make changes in lifestyle and diet for a better quality of life. The survey was conducted to understand patients’ attitudes and preferences in managing diabetes and the current scenario of diabetes management in India.

The data collected from close to 200 diabetic and pre-diabetic patients showed that nearly 40% of them do not regularly consult their doctors for diabetes. And what’s interesting is that more men with diabetes consulted doctors compared to women with diabetes.

Another noteworthy finding is that when confronted with their diagnosis, 46% of patients confessed to being concerned about lifelong dependence on medications, and 49% expressed concern about the future risk of medical complications. Despite this, almost half of the patients admitted to not being physically active, and almost two-thirds of patients had never consulted with a nutritionist or dietitian. This is despite equal enthusiasm from both men and women to adopt improved dietary habits to manage their diabetes.

These insights highlight two critical aspects in diabetes management among patients:

  1. A significant contrast between what patients intend to do and what they actually do
  2. The absence of a structured program that promotes overall wellness, which affects behavioural change and implementation, and positively impacts motivation.

There is now emerging evidence worldwide that a holistic approach to diabetes can prevent and even put diabetes into remission. A breakthrough research trial called the DiRECT trial from the United Kingdom changed the landscape of diabetes management. It revealed that type 2 diabetes which was often deemed permanent and progressive can be placed in remission through lifestyle intervention. By sustained positive healthy diet changes, physical activity and resultant weight loss, patients can achieve diabetes remission i.e. bringing blood sugars back into the normal range without the aid of medications.

To bridge this gap in diabetes care delivery, Practo designed and implemented Transform, a digital diabetes management program that aims to help patients put their diabetes into remission with habit and lifestyle changes. Through its structured program, multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach and proprietary technology it creates personalised plans and drives behaviour change that enables patients to put their diabetes into remission and live medicine free lives. So far, Transform has successfully helped hundreds of patients with Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes and improved diabetes control with less or no medication.

Commenting on the need for structured diabetes programs, Dr. Hema Venkataraman, consultant Endocrinologist, NHS, UK and Medical Advisor, Practo Transform, said, “The lifetime risk of diabetes in Indian adults over 20 years of age is estimated to be well over 50% and this risk is much higher with advancing age and obesity. Given the rising burden of Diabetes and pre-diabetes in India, there is an urgent need for the nationwide rollout of 2 key programs, to “blunt the curve” of the rising diabetes epidemic. First, A national diabetes prevention program (DPP) aiming at those at high risk of progression to diabetes eg pre-diabetes, obesity and gestational diabetes. Second, A national diabetes remission program (DRP) aiming at people with recent onset diabetes, to reduce the morbidity of diabetes and its related complications. When countries with a much smaller diabetes burden like the United Kingdom have modelled, piloted and pioneered both the national DPP and DRP successfully, it is now time to “Make in India””

Sharing her journey with diabetes remission, Saeeba Khan, Practo Transform patient said, “When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was devastated and shattered. I thought my life would now be entirely dependent on medicines. I was feeling frustrated and helpless. Other doctors told me that later in life I might develop complications related to eyes, heart, kidney and limbs. I never knew that diabetes is so dangerous and life-threatening. When I found out about Practo Transform, at first, I wasn’t even sure whether diabetes remission was real or just a marketing myth. But, soon all my doubts vanished, when I started losing weight and saw a drop in my HbA1c levels. My sleep quality improved, my face started looking younger and I was elated to see a drop in my clothing size. I then knew I had made the best decision.”

The survey was conducted among close to 200 diabetic and pre-diabetic patients from which 66% were male and 34% were female. From the surveyed patients 49% were employed, 23% were homemakers and 29% were retired. The survey was also presented at the international Diabetes UK conference in Liverpool UK (P341).