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Over 100 Million Indians Diabetic, 315 Million Suffer From Hypertension: Lancet Survey

The prevalence of diabetes in India is 11.4 per cent, while 35.5 per cent and 15.3 per cent of people suffer from hypertension and prediabetes, respectively

Over 100 Million Indians Diabetic, 315 Million Suffer From Hypertension: Lancet Survey
The study emphasised on the formation of state-specific policies and interventions to address the concern of rapidly rising metabolic NCDs.

New Delhi: Nearly 101 million people in India were diabetic in 2021, compared to 70 million people in 2019, according to the epidemiological study on diabetes and non-communicable diseases (NCD) published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal. Besides, 136 million had prediabetes, and 315 million had high blood pressure, the study stated.

The prevalence of diabetes in India is 11.4 per cent, while 35.5 per cent and 15.3 per cent of people suffer from hypertension and prediabetes, respectively.

The study, conducted by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also found that the prevalence of generalised obesity and abdominal obesity in India stood at 28.6 and 39.5 per cent, respectively.

The estimate shows that 254 million people in India had generalised obesity, and 351 million had abdominal obesity in 2021.

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In 2017, the team found that the prevalence of diabetes in India was around 7.5 per cent, meaning there has been an increase of over 50 per cent in the burden since then.

Among the states, Goa (26.4 per cent) had the highest prevalence of diabetes and Uttar Pradesh (4.8 per cent) had the lowest, while Sikkim (31.3 per cent) and Mizoram (6.8 per cent) had the highest and lowest burden of prediabetes.

Punjab (51.8 per cent) had the highest prevalence of hypertension while Meghalaya (24.3 per cent) had the highest burden, the researchers said. Dr. R. M. Anjana, President, MDRF and lead author of the study said,

The steep increase in NCDs can be attributed mostly to the lifestyle choices of people such as diet, physical activity, stress levels etc. The positive news is that interventions can be used to curb the trend. Our study has multiple implications for the planning and provision of health care in India.

She said that diabetes epidemic in India is in transition, with some states having already reached their peak rates while others are getting started. She further added,

These states may see an increase in prevalence over the next 3-5 years before plateauing.

To assess the burden of NCDs across 31 states and union territories, more than 1.1 lakh people participated in the ICMR – INDIAB study conducted between October 2008-December 2020, of which, 33,537 were the urban residents, while 79,506 were rural residents.

The survey also showed that an alarming 81.2 per cent have dyslipidaemia — the imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, (LDL-C), triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

All metabolic NCDs except prediabetes were more frequent in urban than rural areas. In many states with a lower human development index, the ratio of diabetes to prediabetes was less than 1. V. Mohan, Chairman, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre (DMDSC) and MDRF, said,

Our study results have multiple implications for the planning and provision of health care in India. State governments in India, who are primarily in charge of providing healthcare in their respective regions, will be especially interested in the detailed state-level data on these NCDs as it will allow them to develop evidence-based interventions to successfully halt the progression of NCDs and manage their complications.

The team, including researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, conducted the survey in multiple phases with a stratified multistage sampling design, using three-level stratification based on geography, population size, and socioeconomic status of each state. The authors of the study said,

The prevalence of diabetes and other metabolic NCDs in India is considerably higher than previously estimated. While the diabetes epidemic is stabilising in the more developed states of the country, it is still increasing in most other states.

The study emphasised on the formation of state-specific policies and interventions to address the concern of rapidly rising metabolic NCDs.

The study was funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

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