The Indian Council of Medical Research - India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study is one of the largest nationally representative studies of the status of diabetes in India. The study includes data from the testing of over 57,000 people across 15 states all over the country. The study, published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, found out that over 7.3% people suffered from diabetes, and over half of these had not been diagnosed with the condition earlier. The study found out that more people in urban areas (11.2%) suffered from the disease than those in rural areas (5.2%). The prevalence of the disease varied from 10% in Punjab to 4.3% in Bihar, having a higher prevalence in the mainlands than in the northeastern side of the country.
Genetics play a huge role in determining if an individual is at a risk of developing the condition. People with a family history of diabetes, especially in blood kinship like parents, grandparents and siblings, are highly likely to develop the condition.
Despite the high prevalence of the condition in India, there are very few accurate and reliable surveys of the condition of the disease in the country. This is also aggravated by the inherent variations in ethnicity, culture and socioeconomic status of people in different parts of the country, all of which contribute to the inaccuracies of any national level survey.
Although the majority of the Indian urban population has access to proper diabetes screening and treatment facilities, most of the rural population is deprived of these benefits. A disproportionate allocation of health resources among the rural and the urban areas, as well as the difference in the quality of sanitation, hygiene, illiteracy and food insecurity, all come together in ways that have prompted local governments and policy makers alike to under prioritize and undermine the threat of diabetes that is looking over more than half the population of the country.
Although diabetes is more prevalent in obese people, India has a higher rate of the prevalence of diabetes in lean people with less BMI, suggesting that the disease might occur in Indians with lesser BMIs as compared to Europeans with the same BMI.
Although data from around the country is scarce, a recent study showed that the prevalence of the condition for longer periods of time leads to troubles and complications in other parts of the body, with the leading complication being neuropathy at 26.4%, followed by cardiovascular complications pegged at 23.6%, renal complications at 21.11%, rounding up with foot ulcers at 5.5%. These are, however, results derived from just one particular study and more data from all over the country are needed in order to correctly identify the complications that arise from the presence of diabetes for prolonged periods of time.
There are a number of other challenges that are faced by diabetes care in India. The gold standard for insulin initiation and intensification, HbA1c, is not available to most of the diabetes affected population in the country. There is also a lack of knowledge and practice of the initiation of insulin therapy in hospitals and clinics all over the country. A lack of a set of guidelines for the treatment of diabetes in the country is another huge problem that plagues the treatment of diabetic patients.
All in all, appropriate government policies and active involvement in diabetes care and screening, along with an increased general awareness of lifestyle management are required to improve India's statistics relating to diabetes screening and treatment, potentially leading to lesser cases of diabetes in the country.
Some of the lifestyle management changes include avoiding ASS (alcohol, smoking and stress), doing exercises regularly, and eating healthy food on a regular schedule. The most important part is to understand how different food affects your blood sugar. It is advised to incorporate healthy food sources like avocado, jamun, whole grains, veggies, lean meats, fruits, aloe vera and karela juice in your diet. These are also known as diabetes control juices as they a good source of vitamin C and helps reduce the risk to a great extent.
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