A recent study funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) infers that only one in three diabetes patients in India have their blood sugar under control. Collaborating with Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, the report was published on Friday in The Lancet (Diabetes and Endocrinology) and was conducted between October 2008 and December 17, making it an extensive epidemiological study in India.
Around 1.1 lakh participants were involved in the study, spanning 30 states and Union Territories. This is the first time an extensive report has been made to look into the effects of diabetes in the Indian population. It involved adults aged 20, of which 33,537 belonged to the urban areas, and 79,506 were a part of rural India. Currently, over 537 million people globally are affected by the disease.
The Indian Express quotes significant yet alarming numbers from the study. Only 36.3% of the Indian population has their blood glucose level under control, 48.8% have their blood pressure under control, and 41.5% maintain good cholesterol levels. However, a meagre number of 7.7% have all three critical parameters under control. The inferences raise the alarm, considering over 80% of people suffering from the disease take the necessary medication to keep them under check.
Despite the rise in the number of people taking necessary measures, the report also suggests that the medications are not being consumed orderly. One of the authors, Dr V Mohan, told the news publication, "We have shown repeatedly through earlier studies that unless you get all the three parameters under control, the risk of developing eye, kidney, heart, feet, nerve and other complications go up. With a couple of million new diabetics each year, we will not be able to handle the number of transplants and dialysis."
Unhealthy Lifestyle Being Popular
The report also looked into the progress made by the states across the country. The abysmal numbers portray a shoddy picture, popularising an unhealthy lifestyle with excessive smoking, drinking and severe lack of exercise. No Indian state or union territory had their blood glucose level under control. While the golden number is 7, many of them had higher numbers. Tripura had 7.3, whereas Punjab had a whopping 9.0. In terms of blood pressure control, Nagaland breached the upper limit with 149.2, the ideal being 120. Only ten states have people with their cholesterol levels under decent check.
When it comes to smoking and drinking, states like Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh had high numbers. Few states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Chandigarh had a mean intake of 3 or more fruits and vegetables per day. "We cannot have a diabetes-free India, but we should aim to have a complication-free India. Most people look at their glucose, but beyond glucose, controlling the blood pressure and cholesterol is as important. We need to control them at the primary care level; we need to train the foot soldiers of diabetes- educators, nurses, family doctors," One of the authors named, Dr Shashank Joshi, emphasises the mitigation plan.
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