At least 80% diabetics are at risk of developing heart diseases, according to a national study conducted by Lifespan, a chain of diabetes clinics in India.
The study showed that despite India having the second largest number of diabetic patients after China, awareness about the chronic condition is abysmally low. Fifty per cent of those surveyed were not aware that diabetes and heart diseases are related.
The study conducted ahead of World Diabetes Day which falls on November 14, studied 10,047 diabetic patients, who underwent a specialised non-invasive test to assess their risk of developing complications as a result of diabetes by measuring their blood pressure, blood flow in the finger and sweat glands on the feet.
“It’s a technology approved by US Food and Drug Administration to assess the risk of various complications that diabetic patients can develop,” said Ashok Jain, group MD, Lifespan.
About 63% of those who took the test were found to be at risk of developing blindness and damaged kidneys. While 60% were at risk of developing complications such as erectile dysfunction -- common among diabetics.
Though the risk of developing such complications is higher, awareness about them is relatively low, found another study conducted among common people about diabetes. Around 36% people were not aware of the correlation between diabetes and eye problems.
“Diabetes affects the blood vessels in the body, resulting in thickening of these vessels which increases the risk of heart diseases. Patients have to control their body sugar levels to prevent complications,” said Dr Nikhil Bhagwat, diabetologist, Cumbulla Hospital, Grant Road.
The study found that more men (73%) sought treatment for diabetes compared to women (27%). At least 24% of the participants were below 40 years. “Until a decade ago, most of my patients were in their 60s. My patients now are in their early 30s ,” said Dr Bhagwat.