Author(s): Mehta SR, Kashyap AS, Das S
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Abstract India has a high prevalence of diabetes mellitus and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. In India alone, diabetes is expected to increase from 40.6 million in 2006 to 79.4 million by 2030. Studies have shown that the prevalence of diabetes in urban Indian adults is about 12.1\%, the onset of which is about a decade earlier than their western counterparts and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is 4-6 times higher in urban than in rural areas. The risk factors peculiar for developing diabetes among Indians include high familial aggregation, central obesity, insulin resistance and life style changes due to urbanization. Screening for gestational diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance among pregnant women provides a scope for primary prevention of the disease in mothers as well as in their children. The problems of obesity and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (important predisposing factors) are not confined to adults alone but children are also increasingly getting affected. Most long standing macro and micro vascular complications are also more common among Indian diabetics as compared to other races and ethnic groups. A strong familial clustering of diabetic nephropathy among Indian Type 2 diabetics has also been noted. Clustering of cardiovascular risk factor like Syndrome X is common among urban Indians. The rising incidence of diabetes and its complications are going to pose a grave health care burden on our country. Timely effective interventions/measures and screening tests for complications at the time of diagnosis becomes imperative not only for early detection, but also to prevent progression to end stage disease. Screening for gestational diabetes among pregnant women would also go a long way in primary prevention of the disease. Life style changes/interventions and drugs like rosiglitazone are the current strategies that can prevent and/or delay the onset of diabetes. Simple interventional strategies like "Eat less, Eat on time and Walk more" can go a long way in preventing these chronic disorders among present as well as in the future generations.
This article was published in Med J Armed Forces India
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism