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Diabetes alert: India at high risk

According to IDF, China and India, with 39 mn and 30 mn cases respectively, top the table, reports S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 02:07 IST

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has put India, along with China and the US, on notice as the spread of diabetes worldwide is assuming alarming proportions.

China and India, with an estimated 39 million and 30 million cases respectively, head the dubious table. The US follows with 21 million sufferers of the more common Type 2 diabetes.

New data presented by IDF at the American Diabetes Association's ongoing 66th scientific sessions here points to a more than seven-fold rise in incidence of diabetes in the last 20 years, from 30 million cases to 230 million. The number will shoot up to 350 million in the next 20 years, it has warned.

Apart from a host of pro-active measures, the IDF is seeking a UN resolution to recognise the global burden of diabetes and focus world attention on the need for immediate action. Terming it a "wake-up call to halt a global diabetes epidemic", the IDF talks of the extraordinary lack of awareness of the scale of the threat. Diabetes is claiming as many lives as HIV/AIDS, with one person dying from diabetes-related causes every 10 seconds. And the death rate on account of this affliction is predicted to rise by 25 per cent over the next decade.

"The diabetes epidemic will overwhelm healthcare resources everywhere if governments do not wake up and take action now," said IDF's president-elect Martin Silink.

Some 80 per cent of Type 2 diabetes that accounts for the bulk of the toll is deemed to be preventable with dietary changes and increased physical activity. Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent), however, is not preventable. This type predominantly affects youth and is rising alarmingly worldwide at a rate of 3 per cent annually. Marked reduction in physical activity and a rise in consumption of cheap food with high calorie content have been identified as the principal causes for the increase.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 01:44 IST