NEW DELHI: India is already known as the diabetes capital of the world, with the number of people suffering from the disease set to touch 100 million in less than two decades. Now, a new survey shows that 50 per cent of diabetes cases in the country go undiagnosed and are treated only at later stages.
An increasingly sedentary lifestyle, faulty diet and genetic predisposition has resulted in India having one of the world’s largest diabetic populations.
However, as the disease is often asymptomatic, it goes undiagnosed. This exposes people to heart attacks and strokes as diabetes is a direct risk factor for these life-threatening ailments.
The survey was conducted among 3,217 doctors across India by eMediNexus, that claims to be India’s largest doctors’ network and advocacy platform.
Close to 70 per cent of doctors said they thought the proliferation of sedentary lifestyle had contributed to the rise of diabetes. Nearly 50 per cent said focusing on preventive strategies could work towards reducing incidence, more so in rural India where people were more receptive.
More than half of doctors surveyed said it was important for the government to identify pre-diabetics because they added to the disease burden of the nation.Around 27 per cent felt that school children could be inducted into diabetes control programmes to create awareness among parents.
The survey further said nearly 30 per cent of doctors thought they needed to show more proactive participation in educating patients on diet and lifestyle but 44 per cent thought public-private partnership could go a long way in halting the epidemic.
“Heart ailments are the leading cause of death among people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Heart disease and diabetes have a strong connect, with obesity at the base. Fat deposition around the waist, a commonly found occurrence in the Indian population, leads to poor glucose control and increases the risks of atherosclerosis,” Praveer Agarwal, Director and Interventional Cardiologist at the national capital’s Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, said.
The WHO has named diabetes as the health theme for 2016 and in a statement released on Wednesday called for measures to expand health-promoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors.