Three out of ten diabetics in Mumbai already have complications such as kidney disease, vision problems and damaged nerves when they are first diagnosed with the disease, a recent study found.
The findings suggest that many patients are likely to be diagnosed with the condition at a late stage, said doctors from the MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai, which conducted the study between June 2014 and 2016.
Of the 100 patients studied, 21 had damaged nerves, 10 had kidney disease and two had vision problems at the time of diagnosis. “It is probable that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes are similar to the number of people who have the condition but are undiagnosed. Patients with one or both diabetic parents must get themselves screened,” said Dr Hemraj Chandalia, director of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road. Chandalia added that worldwide, the average delay in diabetes diagnosis is three years. It is similar in India. “There is a need for better screening to minimise complications,’ he said.
Doctors said people with metabolic syndrome have five times the risk of developing diabetes compared to the general population. “People with metabolic syndrome could be pre-diabetic. In these cases, organ damage begins much before blood sugar levels elevate and the patient is termed ‘diabetic’,” said Dr Sandeep Rai, professor and unit head, MGM Institute of Health Sciences.
“By the time these people develop diabetes, complications of the kidney, eye and nerves have set in. They may eventually require dialysis, retinal injections and amputation, which significantly adds to the cost of managing the disease,” he added.