Close to 80 per cent of the diabetics die of cardiac ailments, said Dr Surinder Kumar, endocrinologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
“The young Indian population is at high risk of early cardiac deaths because the age of contracting diabetes has shifted drastically from 40 years to as early as 14-15 years,” said Kumar who is also the organising secretary of SAARC diabetes conference.
“Several studies have shown that Indians develop diabetes at a very young age, at least 10 to 15 years earlier than the western population,” he said. “An early occurrence of diabetes gives ample time for development of the chronic complications of diabetes.”
According to Dr Kumar, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack than someone without the disease.
“For a middle-aged person with type 2 diabetes, the risk of a heart attack is the same as that of someone who’s already had a heart attack,” he said.
“Diabetes mellitus is a major challenge in our region not only because of the numbers and the increasing incidents but also because of its association with cardiovascular problems,” said Dr Upendra Kaul, executive director and dean, Escorts Heart Institute, who was present at the conference.
“There is a definite relationship between hyperglycemia (blood sugar) and atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries),” he said.
“Hypertension, neuropathy and dyslipidemia (increase in lipids in the blood) are other associated problems.”
According to experts, the prevalence of diabetes increases if a person has a family history of diabetes.
“The risk of a child developing diabetes with a parental history increases above 50 per cent. A high incidence of diabetes is seen among the first-degree relatives,” said Kumar.