Number of diabetic people in Chandigarh likely to double in 5 years: Study
The study says with 13.6% of its population suffering from the disease, the city, in percentage terms, has the highest incidence of diabetes among India’s 15 states.Updated: Jun 18, 2017 13:56 IST
The number of diabetic people in Chandigarh will double in the next five years if no preventive measures are taken, an ongoing study has found.
Setting alarm bells ringing in the UT health department, the study says with 13.6% of its population suffering from the disease, the city, in percentage terms, has the highest incidence of diabetes among India’s 15 states. It also says 14.6% of the city’s people have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic and they carry the risk of becoming diabetics in near future.
The study, being conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and INdia DIABetes, was published recently in the peer-reviewed international journal, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Increase over the years
The number of diabetics and pre-diabetics is more than what a study published in 2010 had found. At that time, the city’s diabetic incidence was 11.1% while the pre-diabetes figure was 13.2%.
One of the authors of the study, Dr Anil Bhansali, head, endocrinology department, PGIMER, said, “Pre-diabetes means that you have a higher-than-normal blood sugar level and that is not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. It is reversible but if you do not take preventive measures, the pre-diabetes can become diabetes within 5-7 years,”
More participants in the study from the city were youngsters. “In Chandigarh, a large number of youths are affected by diabetes because they are not very active, physically speaking. We had conducted a study in 2010, which showed that two/third of youth were physically inactive,” he said.
Complications associated with disease
More worrisome part of diabetes is the complications associated with it, Dr Bhansali said. “Because now diabetic people are living longer, they have chances of developing complications.These days, the most common cause of renal transplant is diabetes.”
And this translates into more financial burden on the patient’s family, he said.
Experts believe that it is high time when the UT health department should start working on preventing measures.
“Everyone is sleeping. They should organise frequent screening camps, make people aware about good dietary habits and promote exercise and physical activity,” he said.
HT spoke to Dr Anil Bhansali, head of PGI’s endocrinology department and one of the authors of the study. Here are the excerpts:
Q: 27% of the city’s poor people are diabetic. Why it is so?
A: The urban poor are struggling to make their ends meet. The cost of living is higher and to compensate that they eat cheap food which is rich in carbohydrate and low in proteins and fats. Then they have very erratic lifestyle as they are struggling to live in the city. Therefore they are more prone to diabetes.
Now, if you eat more chapattis and sugar, you are more likely to suffer from diabetes. So, the urban poor must be targeted and given dietary advice and encouraged to do more physical activity.
Q: Why Chandigarh has the highest incidence of diabetes?
A: The city has the highest per capita income in India, which means people are more prone to luxury lifestyle and less physical activity. A data of 2010 showed that 66% of its population in the age group of 20 to 40 did no physical activity. It is also possible that people are not really aware.
Q: Shouldn’t the health department should become more proactive?
A: Everyone is sleeping. They only wake up on June 21 (Yoga Day) and then forget. The department has a very short time and it should take urgent preventive measures and check the increase in the number of diabetics. They should organise more screening programmes, particularly targeting the young population. Then they should educate people about good dietary habits and promote physical activities like brisk walking, cycling or other exercises.
Q: What should people do to keep diabetes at bay?
A: They should have a balanced food, which should have 50% carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 30% fat. In India, diabetes starts taking off at the age of 35, so people should go for regular screening.
Q: Are you planning more studies?
A: We will call over 2,000 urban patients enrolled for the study and will check their status as how many are alive and how many have developed complications.
Q: Why a shift from rich urban people to the rich in rural belts?
Whenever there is an economic advancement, there is epideomological transmission. The purchasing power of people increases. They have more access to food and adopt sedentary lifestyle and become more diabetic.
So the first sufferers of economic progression were urban rich people. But with time and awareness, the prevalence of diabetes decreases. This is called as epidemiological transition.
Now rich rural are more diabetic, because economic advancements reached rural population later. So, they are showing high prevalence of disease now.
First Published: Jun 18, 2017 12:03 IST