Most family members of diabetics in the city lack awareness about the disease and do not get their blood sugar checked regularly, shows a recent survey. This is worrying because there is a strong hereditary influence of the disease, said doctors.
The survey, about perceptions of diabetes among patients’ family members, was conducted among 900 respondents in three cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. The cities exhibited similar trends.
In Mumbai, around 81% of the 300 respondents from the city said they had not tested their blood sugar levels, despite having a diabetic in the family. Doctors said that relatives of diabetics should get this done at least once a year. Respondents from the city also lagged far behind with regard to awareness of the disease.
Across the three cities, about 85.4% of respondents had never gotten their blood sugar levels checked.
The survey was conducted in October by the HEAL Foundation, a Noida-based organisation that works on health education among citizens. Results of the survey were announced at a press conference on Thursday, a fortnight before World Diabetes Day, which is on November 14.
“People who live with diabetics are a high-risk group sharing hereditary factors, apart from lifestyle and eating patterns,” said Preetaish Kaul, principal consultant, HEAL Foundation.
The chances of family members contracting the disease are high, say doctors. People with one diabetic parent have a 40% chance of contracting the disease, people with one parent with the disease and another who has a family history of diabetes have a 70% chance of contracting it and those with two diabetic parents have a 90% chance, said Dr Manoj Chadha, senior endocrinologist, Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
Most of the people surveyed were unaware of the hereditary factors associated with the disease. Only 9.6% of the respondents could point to these factors. Even more surprisingly, about 0.7% of people living with diabetics thought the disease is communicable.
About 26% of the respondents thought that the disease can be cured. This is a misconception as diabetes can only be controlled, not cured.