World Diabetes Day: ‘Chandigarh has more diabetic cases due to better income’

Among the 15 states surveyed in the study carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Chandigarh recorded the highest prevalence rate, almost twice the national figure that stands at 7.3%.

punjab Updated: Nov 15, 2017 11:12 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
World Diabetes Day,Diabetes,Chandigarh
Diabetes is a condition where the body can’t maintain the right amount of glucose in the blood. When you eat rice, it breaks down more slowly to glucose and can therefore ensure sugar is more evenly released over time, rather than all at once.(Representative image )

With 13% diabetic prevalence in the city, residents of Chandigarh face an impeding health hazard, reveals a study published in the Lancet earlier this year.

It adds that the pre-diabetic prevalence (chances of being diagnosed with diabetes) in Chandigarh stands at 14.6%. Moreover, among the 15 states surveyed in the study carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Chandigarh recorded the highest prevalence rate, almost twice the national figure that stands at 7.3%. In 2010, the diabetic prevalence in Chandigarh was 11.1% and the pre-diabetic prevalence was 13.2%. Experts blame the “lazy attitude” of the city residents for the high prevalence of diabetes.

On the occasion of World Diabetes Day that falls on November 14, Dr Anil Bhansali, head of endocrinology department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, speaks to Hindustan Times on a range of issues surrounding diabetes.

The following is an excerpt:

When does a person become diabetic?

We say a person is diabetic if her/his glucose level is 126 mg/dl or more in the fasting state (having not eaten anything for 7-8 hours) and the random blood glucose level is over 200 mg/dl.

What are its symptoms?

In about 50% cases, diabetes is asymptomatic. People end up in hospitals with complications like sudden vision loss, affected kidneys, damaged nerves, heart attack, gangrene and other problems. This makes diabetes more dangerous and some even call it a ‘silent killer’. Nonetheless, frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, weight loss, genital infections, delayed healing of wounds, mild fatigue or weakness, can suggest diabetic conditions.

How serious is the problem?

Of late, diabetes has emerged as one of the most common non-communicable disease. However, since it effects you slowly over the years, there is sufficient window period to adopt corrective measures. In India, the peak age for prevalence of diabetes has reduced to 45 from 55. If overlooked, diabetes can result in heart attack, stroke, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

What are the risk factors?

Diabetes has a range of risk factors that include obesity, family history, past history gestational diabetes, babies weighing more than 4kg or less than 2.5 kg at birth, women with polycystic ovary syndrome, hypertension and previous history of heart attack.

How vulnerable are people in Chandigarh?

Studies have shown that two-third of city residents in the age group of 20-40 years do not exercise. Furthermore, a large number of elderly people live here and diabetic prevalence is high among them.

Is diabetes linked to income level?

Higher income in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is directly related to diabetes. Consumption of junk food and lack of adequate exercises/physical work is prevalent more among the high income strata of the society. Since Chandigarh has one of the highest GDP rates in the country, diabetic prevalence is also high here.

What are the required tests?

Every person who is above 40 years of age should carry out an annual screening test that evaluates the body weight, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and lipid profile. If we act early, treatment gets easier and economical.

Is diabetes treatable?

For Type 1 diabetes, insulin intake is the only solution. Failure to do so can prove fatal for patients. However, in Type 2 diabetes, oral medication and insulin are part of the treatment. This is a lifelong medical condition that can be contained but not cured.

How can one prevent it?

Diabetic conditions can be prevented to a great extent if one regularly exercises, maintains a healthy diet that includes three servings of fruits and two servings of green vegetable a day. Breakfast should never be missed, lunch should be lighter and dinner the lightest. Say no to alcohol and smoking. While the former is rich in calories, the latter leads to increased generation of oxidative stress and reduce insulin secretion.

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 10:20 IST