A new study has found that India has over 100 million diabetics and 136 million pre-diabetics. The study, which was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is the largest survey on diabetes and other metabolic non-communicable diseases ever undertaken in India.
The study found that the number of diabetics in India has increased by 44% in four years. In 2019, there were 70 million diabetics in India. By 2023, this number has increased to 101 million. The study also found that 15.3% of the population, or at least 136 million people, are pre-diabetic. A pre-diabetic is an individual who has higher-than-normal blood sugar levels but is not high enough to be considered a diabetic. A pre-diabetic is said to fall in the high-risk group of developing diabetes.
The study found that the prevalence of diabetes is highest in the states of Goa, Puducherry and Kerala. These states have a prevalence of diabetes of 26.4%, 26.3% and 25.5% respectively. The study also found that the prevalence of diabetes is increasing in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh. These states have a lower prevalence of diabetes than the national average, but they are at a higher risk of developing diabetes in the coming years.
“In Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Chandigarh, there are fewer pre-diabetes cases compared to diabetes cases. In Puducherry and Delhi, they are nearly equal and so we can say the disease is stabilising. For every person with diabetes in UP, there are nearly four people with pre-diabetes. This means these people will soon become diabetics. In Madhya Pradesh, for every person with diabetes, there are three persons with pre-diabetes. Sikkim is an exception where the prevalence of both diabetes and pre-diabetes is high. We must study the reasons,” Madras Diabetes Research Foundation President Dr Ranjit Mohan Anjana was quoted in the study.
The study’s findings are concerning, as diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. The study’s authors call for increased awareness of diabetes and other metabolic non-communicable diseases in India. They also call for government policies to promote healthy lifestyles and to improve access to healthcare for people with diabetes.