On the occasion of World Diabetes Day on Saturday, experts and NGOs here urged diabetics to take preventive measures to safeguard themselves against brain strokes and heart attacks.

“In India, five to 10 percent of the patients of diabetes suffer from brain stroke after the age of 60 years,” said S.K. Wangnoo, senior consultant endocrinologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

“Diabetes patients are having accelerated atherosclerosis (more cholesterol depositions in blood vessels) due to which patients are prone to develop brain stroke or heart attack two to four times more than non-diabetic patients,” he added.

Subhadra Nambudiri Foundation, an NGO, appealed to people, communities and government to educate people to take preventive measures so that the disease’s repercussions could be kept at bay.

The Delhi-based health NGO primarily works at creating awareness about stroke and related diseases.

Its executive trustee K.G. Suresh said that managing diabetes would be the theme of the upcoming National Brain Stroke Day on Dec 18th.

“We will be carrying out a month-long campaign in this regard. Taking preventive measures are the best way to stop brain stroke,” he added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030. Almost 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

India has been described as the diabetes capital of the world as it is home to over 50 million people who are affected by the lifestyle disease, that is all too often discovered only in the advanced stages.

India is followed by China and US respectively, Suresh said.

According to Ashutosh Shukla, head of internal medicine at Artemis Health Institute (AHI) in Gurgaon, awareness and education are the key.

“People who are obese, have high work stress, sedentary lifestyle, faulty diet and family history (of diabetes) must undergo a health check-up at least once a year and those without risk factors should take it once in two years,” he said.

“Most people discover diabetes when it is in the advanced stage,” he added.

Stressing the same point, Nikhil Tandon, professor of endocrinology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said diabetes is no longer an urban phenomenon and awareness would be able to ensure that people don’t die due to the lifestyle disease.

“Prevention is the best cure. Awareness is all it takes,” he added.

According to WHO, diabetes alone kills at least one million people every year worldwide.

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