In India, diabetes is fast becoming a disease of the poor
Two years ago, 49-year-old Ramachandran, a resident of Kolkata, underwent a regular medical check-up and was told that he was pre-diabetic. Even though he changed his diet to control his blood sugar levels, after a year he found that he was losing weight unusually and that his vision was blurring.
“I was also feeling a burning sensation while passing urine,” he said. “I found minor cuts and bruises in my private parts.”
In September last year, Ramachandran was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Ramachandran is an engineer from a middle-income background. It is among people like Ramachandran that diabetes is on the rise.
Diabetes has long been a disease of affluence but small regional studies in recent years have indicated that, in India, it has been slowly spreading among lower income groups. However, an ongoing national survey of diabetes called the Indian Council of Medical Research – India Diabetes or simply ICMR-INDIAB study finds that many more people from middle-income and poor communities are becoming diabetic.
The ICMR-INDIAB study is the largest national representative of diabetes and includes data from more than 57,000 people across 15 states, both in rural and urban areas. The study represents 363·7 million people or 51% of India’s adult population. Similar previous studies have been only regional with small sample sizes, low response rates and with varied diagnostic criteria. For this study, the researchers considered each person’s bodyweight, height, waist circumference and blood pressure and used glucose tolerance tests to diagnose diabetes and pre Continue reading