The Tamil Nadu results of the first INDIAB Study supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research indicate there are about 42 lakh individuals with diabetes and 30 lakh people with pre-diabetes.
Touted as the “first representative study” of Tamil Nadu, it is part of the nationwide effort to study the national prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes in India, by estimating the State-wide presence of the same. Additionally, the study also aimed at studying the prevalence of hypertension and dislipidemia (high cholesterol) in the population; and the prevalence of coronary artery disease.
Pegging the prevalence of diabetes as 9.8, the study also indicated that there was a further 7.1 per cent prevalence of pre-diabetes in the Tamil Nadu population. The latter translates to about 30 lakh people living with pre-diabetes, R.M. Anjana, director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, said.
In terms of assessing the additional aspects of hypertension and high cholesterol, the figures have proved that the prevalence is actually higher, with the former at 27.8 per cent and the later at 20.1 per cent. This means, approximately 1.2 crore people have high blood pressure, and about 86 lakh people have high cholesterol.
The prevalence of abdominal obesity among men is 22.4 per cent and women, 35.3 per cent. That converts to about 50 lakh men and 76 lakh women. Abdominal obesity was defined as a waist circumference over or equal to 90 cm for men, and for women, over or equal to 80 cm.
Dr. Anjana also said an analysis of the age-wise prevalence showed a higher percentage among the younger group, and by the time people reached 55 years, almost 50 per cent was diabetic. Control of blood sugar is an important factor, as it is key in preventing organ complications that could even lead to death. In urban areas, the glycaemic control ranged between good, poor to reasonable, with about one third of the patients studied.
Put together, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol increase the chances of people developing cardiac disease, Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj said. In terms of numbers, the figures are mind boggling, he added. The stress has to be on primary prevention and also, generating awareness that good blood sugar control has a huge impact on preventing complications.
It is also significant that in India, diabetes occurs ten years ahead of when it does in the West – at about 35 years. The Government of Tamil Nadu had done its best, creating the required infrastructure for diagnosis throughout the State and even providing insulin free of cost to children with Type 1 diabetes. Besides, compulsory testing of blood sugar for pregnant women who attend government institutions, had also been implemented, Mr. Subburaj.
V. Mohan, national co-ordinator of the INDIAB study, said the study shows the real burden of the disease in the population. For the first time, a comprehensive picture of the national prevalence would emerge, providing sufficient fodder for planners and health policy makers. It was also the first time such an extensive study was being done in the North East region, he added.
The occasion also doubled up as an opportunity to launch phase 2 of the INDIAB study to be conducted in the North-East. Tanvir Kaur, assistant director general, ICMR, inaugurated the launch of the second phase officially, in the presence of J. Mahanta, director, ICMR, North East Region and Dibrugarh, and regional co-ordinator of the study.
Three States, including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand were covered during phase 1, and a total of 16,000 subjects studied. In Phase 3, 17 other States, the National Capital Region of Delhi and Puducherry will be covered.