Although we are marginally better than the West when it comes to cancer, the harsh reality is that we are officially facing a "diabetes epidemic" in India. With 62 million diabetics in the country (15 percent of the population), India already holds the dubious reputation of being the diabetes capital of the world. A combination of factors such as diet, lifestyle and genetics make us more prone to the disease than the others. On World Diabetes day, here are twelve shocking facts about diabetes every Indian needs to know.
Although diabetes affects the ones living in the urban and rural areas, the worst affected ones in India are the middle class, especially those living in the cities.
Diabetes has been increasingly affecting the youth of India. People as young as age 20 can be diagnosed with the disorder. According to the study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research, 63.9 percent of the youth below the age of 25 has type 1 diabetes and 25.3 percent have type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes incidence is India is becoming more prevalent among the youth in India. But more disturbingly, on an average, Indians tend to get diabetes 10 years before their western counterparts according to a UK study.
Around 77.2 million people in India already have pre-diabetes, a precursor to diabetes in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not enough to be considered diabetes.
Compared to Caucasians, Indian Asians already have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, which increases their risk of insulin resistance. According to the Chennai Urban Population Study, if both your parents are diabetic, your risk of diabetes is as high as 55 percent.
According to a 2013 report by National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, CDV and Stroke (NPCDCS), South Indians are more vulnerable to diabetes and pre-diabetes than their North Indian counterparts. The cause could be combination of factors such as dependence of white rice, tubers, fruits, cooking oils; and genetic predisposition.
Along with minimal physical activity, the Indian cultural fixation with sweets can worsen tendencies of insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, hepatic steatosis and the "epidemic" of type 2 diabetes.
Although it's commonly known as a rich man's disease, diabetes doesn't spare the poorer sections of the society, especially the ones living in slums. According a study conducted by M.V Hospital for Diabetes in collaboration with WHO, Chennai has the highest prevalence of diabetes among the urban poor.
According to a 2012 NPCDCS survey, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are the worst affect and both the genders are not spared when it comes to diabetes.
Think of this next time you hit your favourite burger joint. Urbanisation has changed the way Indians eat. City dwellers have better access to fast foods and packaged snacks that are high in trans fats, which contributes to insulin resistance. Alarmingly, city dwellers are more likely to gain their energy requirements from fats as compared to village folks.
The economic burden of diabetes in developing countries is rising rapidly despite accounting for inflation. India incurred a cost of $38 billion in 2011 for diabetes alone!
The most lethal silent killer, Diabetes can kill you 10 years before time according to a study conducted by the University of Oxford. IDF Diabetes Atlas says that diabetes claimed one million lives in India in the year 2012.