Hyderabad: India is one of the top 10 countries in terms of number of diabetics, which could be as high as 150 million. Recent estimates from various surveys areas have shown that there are 75 million diabetics and another 70 million in the pre-diabetic stage.
Director G.V.S. Murthy of the Indian Institute of Public Health Hyderabad said diabetes had become an epidemic and required urgent attention.
“The problem is that half of them do not know that they have diabetes and the condition is noticed only when they have a complication. Brain stroke, heart attack and diabetes are the commonest underlying factors and it is very important to act now,” Mr Murthy said.
The new numbers come as a blow amidst the pressure of lifestyle changes and sedentary lifestyles.
Dr Govardhan Mandula, senior general physician, explained, “The new numbers reflect the actual picture we see at hospitals and during clinical level assessments. Those who are above 40 years of age must get their blood sugars tested. Random testing for pre-diabetics in the age group of 35 to 40 years is important.”
He said the would help put patients on control measures like lifestyle changes and 150 minutes of aerobic exercises and brisk walking. The high risk groups are mothers who have suffered from gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and their children. “They must get evaluated. Watching weight is very important and controlling abdominal obesity is the need of the hour,” he said.
Experts state that the initiatives taken by the government like helplines will help patients understand the management of the disease but prevention is a major aspect.
The health complications due to the disease are a financial burden on the family, they said.