Two-thirds of those under the age of 55 with uncontrolled diabetes need treatment for heart diseases, shows a Delhi Diabetic Research Centre survey. On the other hand, only half of all healthy adults need such treatment.
The survey of 3,200 people with uncontrolled diabetes aged between 35 and 55 years showed that 77% (or 2,464 people) underwent angiography, a test for blocks in the arteries. More than 66% (2,112) of those with signs of heart diseases underwent angioplasty, a treatment where stents are implanted to prop blocked arteries. While 188 underwent heart bypass surgery, 118 others opted for non-surgical alternatives.
"Our data shows 14% of Delhi's population are diabetics and an equal number are undiagnosed or pre-diabetics, which means they will develop the disorder over the next few years. Our data supports WHO and International Diabetes Federation data that over 50% diabetics suffer from cardiac problems," said Dr Ashok Jhingan, the centre's chairman.
"The survey establishes the tremendous health care burden associated with uncontrolled diabetes. It is a major risk factor for increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels as it has the potential to block arteries and spur heart attacks," he said. "Patient perception about the disease is casual and lack of seriousness is the leading cause for the coronary artery disease."
The survey also found that most diabetics get their blood sugar tested once in 3-4 months. Advice on diet and exercise is usually ignored.
The survey that began in 2006 was conducted over a period of five years.
"More awareness is needed to arrest this epidemic of heart disease. Regular exercise and change in food habits can have a preventive effect in early stages of diabetes," said Dr Jhingan.