Breakthrough Research Being Done To Tackle Scourge Of Diabetes

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Flashback: Participants at a Stop Diabetes Foundation event in 2018.

Specialist Dr. Bajaj Talks About Policies, Actions, Treatments Needed To Reduce Risks, Create Awareness

BRAMPTON: ‘Diabetes can be effectively managed and complications arising from diabetes prevented’ were the messages of three major breakthrough research findings presented to Diabetologists and health care professionals from around the world at the American Diabetes Association in late June.

The virtual meeting – one of the largest gatherings of endocrinologists and other related specialists in the world – heard about new advancements in diabetic care after Type 2 Diabetes patients are initially prescribed the mainstay drug Metformin, now in use for several decades, Ontario doctor Harpreet Singh Bajaj told the Weekly Voice.  

Dr. Harpreet Singh Bajaj

Dr. Harpreet Bajaj is an Endocrinologist at the LMC Healthcare in Brampton and founder of the STOP Diabetes Foundation, a healthcare provider bringing together specialists in many fields, including doctors, pharmacists, dieticians, and others – with the main idea of promoting healthy communities at the grassroots level through education, advocacy, and treatment.

Researchers who studied 5,000 patients whose diseases were progressing to the next level found that a new hormone injection GLP1 could be the solution for long-term management for glucose intolerance. The non-insulin injection resulted in dramatic clinical outcomes among patients which included a sharp decrease in appetite and food cravings. It also showed good results in some control of obesity.

The principal treatment for severe Type 2 Diabetes today is the daily administration of insulin. Participants at the conference were told about research into a new insulin injection which is long-lasting and would be needed only once a week, instead of the current difficult need of daily injections. The data is being analyzed and the product is expected to be available within three years. “Researchers say it has no side effects and should be a wonderful innovation in the fight against diabetes,” Dr. Bajaj said.

“Our main aim in diabetes care is to chart out general treatment goals and guidelines, and tools to evaluate the quality of care for effective management,” Dr. Bajaj pointed out. ‘Diabetes is a progressive disease which has no cure – but effective management can help the patient live a comfortable life without its scary, attendant complications.”

In Ontario, Peel Region is considered the Capital of Diabetes – because of the demographic pattern of the area. South Asians, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are genetically pre-disposed to be afflicted with diabetes and these communities also tended to be sedentary and fond of rich food, which results in an explosion of obesity as a serious health marker and condition.

A combination of medicines and lifestyle changes linked to obesity are essential for avoiding problems like cardiovascular or renal complications and other morbidities.

Dr. Bajaj said the situation for diabetics in the Peel Region had been exacerbated because of the COVID-10 pandemic. Patients have not been able to visit their doctors regularly, have not gone in for eye and foot examinations, and have been mostly unable to follow exercise regimens.

Dr. Bajaj said it was heartening to note that the Government of Canada had recently passed Bill C-327, which calls for the creation of a framework to deal with diabetes policy at a national level. It is estimated that diabetes affects 11 million Canadians and costs our health care system $30 billion each year.

Dr. Bajaj was involved in the creation of the 360º policy of the bill. –  a comprehensive strategy that will look into several factors.

The 360º policy :

• 90%  will be actions to  reduce risk of diabetes

• 90% will be to create awareness of their diabetes status

• 90% will be for interventions  in preventing complications

• 90% of Canadians with diabetes will achieve improved health outcomes

“We need to raise awareness about this diabetes epidemic and the national plan should be to reduce cases of type 2 diabetes in Canada by millions,  to reduce complications and create significant savings in health care,” Dr. Bajaj said.

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Dr. Bajaj is also Canada’s Research Associate, Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, Mount Sinai Hospital, Vice Chair, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Diabetes Canada, Columnist and Founder of STOP Diabetes Foundation.

Dr. Bajaj started his practice with LMC Brampton in 2009, after completing his fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio, USA). Dr. Bajaj’s education was at Maulana Azad Medical College (New Delhi, India), following which he attained a Masters of Public Health (Epidemiology) at the State University of New York in Albany (New York, USA).

He is Director at LMC, a Research Associate at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto and an adjunct lecturer at McMaster University. Dr. Bajaj serves Diabetes Canada as a co-chair of the Communications and Marketing portfolio for the Canadian Journal for Diabetes. He is also Vice-Chair of Diabetes Canada’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for a 3-year term.

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