Younger generation being diagnosed with diabetes early: study

Stressful lifestyle, altered dietary pattern and sedentary lifestyle cited as the reason

November 10, 2022 10:15 pm | Updated 10:15 pm IST - CHENNAI

Diabetologists, as a part of an ongoing study, have found that the younger generation were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 to 15 years earlier when compared to their parents’ generation. They were diagnosed with diabetes between 40 and 50 years of age.

“This was due to their stressful lifestyle, altered dietary pattern and sedentary lifestyle due to lack of physical activity,” Manoj Shah, diabetologist, Madras Medical Mission (MMM), said, while giving out the interim results of the ongoing study that looked at 100 patients at the hospital’s diabetic clinic on Thursday.

This study of family trees of patients - aged 35 to 70 years - attending the diabetic clinic showed that the age when patients were diagnosed with diabetes was between 40 and 50 years. They found that type 2 diabetes was occuring 10 to 15 years earlier than in their parents generation.

Among those patients without a family history of diabetes, the common risk factors included obesity followed by hypertension and dyslipidemia.

In the cohort studied, the prevalence of diabetes was high among women. In patients without a family history of Type 2 diabetes, women had a higher incidence of dyslipidemia - impaired ability to metabolise lipids - in comparison with patients with two to three generations of diabetes where the prevalence of dyslipidemia was higher among men, the study found.

Dr. Shah added that early lifestyle modification, better eating pattern and physical activity were the key to prevent diabetes and its complications at a young age.

In an observational study on patients who came for diabetes treatment, it was noted that 75-80% of them did not wear proper protective footwear that could lead to an onset of neuropathic ulcers. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to damage of nerves especially of the limbs, which in turn injures tissues leading to ulcers. For this, MMM is setting up a podiatry clinic to treat undetected neuropathic ulcers on the feet.

A. Ramanan, diabetologist, MMM, said proper footwear and foot care were important to prevent neuropathic ulcers.

The impact of diabetes on the kidneys was another cause of concern. Rajeevalochana Parthasarathy, consultant nephrologist, MMM, said that 30-40% of persons with diabetes were having kidney diseases. “In most of them, it is silent and never recognised till they reach end stage disease,” she said.

Ajit Mullasari, director of Cardiology, MMM, raised the need for comprehensive management of patients with diabetes to try and delay the complications. Raju George, chief executive officer, MMM, also spoke.

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