World Diabetes Day: Number of Diabetics in India Could Double by the Next Decade

World Diabetes Day is observed on Nov. 14 to mark the birth anniversary of Frederick Banting, the co-founder of insulin.


The number of people with diabetes in India could double in the coming decade, according to a recent study report. Indian adults have a pre-diabetes prevalence of 10.3 per cent, the study revealed on World Diabetes Day, which is observed on Nov. 14 every year.

“There is evidence of an epidemiological transition, with diabetes prevalence being higher in low socio-economic groups of urban areas in more economically developed states,” Dr Tanvir Kaur, deputy director general, Indian Council of Medical Research, who was part of the research team that conducted India’s largest community-based diabetes study, said, the Hindustan Times reported.

The survey, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research-IndiaB among 57,117 adults from 14 states and the Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh, found that the prevalence to pre-diabetes is 1.4 times higher than diabetes prevalence of 7.3 per cent. Currently, 70 million Indians have diabetes, but 47.3 per cent of them remain undiagnosed. Without treatment they could suffer blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and foot amputation, the study said.

Affluent states and Union Territories such as Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have a higher diabetes prevalence. The prevalence of pre-diabetes ranged from 6 per cent in Mizoram to 14.7 per cent in Tripura.

“Indians get diabetes at a lower body weight, with around 20-25 per cent people (diabetics) not being overweight,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis Centre of Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, was quoted as saying in the report.

According to several studies, including the UK study in Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology abstract, South Asians tend to develop diabetes a decade before Europeans and at a lower weight.

Early diagnosis and prevention is the right way to move forward to prevent or delay diabetes. In order to prevent diabetes, it is important to keep blood sugar levels low — under 100 mg/dL and glycerated blood glucose levels (HbA1c) below 5.7 per cent. Keeping the blood pressure less than 130/90 mm/Hg is also an important measure in preventing diabetes.

World Diabetes Day is observed on Nov. 14 since it marks the birth anniversary of Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin, in 1922.

The theme for 2017 is “Women and diabetes – our right to a healthy future.” Over 200 million women live with diabetes worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Healthy diet and exercise can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes for women.

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