Today's Paper

Incidence of diabetes alarming

Shastry V Mallady

MADURAI: It may be the only disease with a sweet name: `sugar.' But the morning scene at the Diabetology department of the Government Rajaji Hospital does not show anything sweet as patients tell bitter stories of how difficult it is to go for daily insulin injections and take "sugar tablets."

This daily scene at the GRH gets more significance on November 14 when the World Diabetes Day is observed. Outside the hospital, a rally involving diabetes patients was taken out but inside the department it was a case where men and women reeled out their agonising tales once they were struck by the endemic diabetes.

Statistics of a recent random survey undertaken in Madurai city sound alarming: Out of 1,000 persons who were performed diabetes check-up randomly, 12 per cent were already in the pre-diabetic stage and 13 per cent found to have diabetes. Here, three per cent of people did not know that they were having diabetes and came to know only through the survey tests.

"To get the right picture, we covered both affluent areas in the city and also places where lower middle class/below poverty line people lived. The incidence is really alarming in this city," says A. J. Asirvatham, Head, Department of Diabetology, GRH.

The survey was done among people above 35 years and had both men and women undergoing the blood test.

The GRH has also initiated the Madurai Diabetes Prevention Programme in which people are told about lifestyle modification, diet control and exercises.

The hospital statistics too look threatening. Dr. Asirvatham said 50 new diabetes cases per day were reported at the GRH alone where 200 patients gathered every morning to collect insulin doses. Besides, 300 patients already having diabetes visit the hospital to get the "sugar tablets."

Complications arising from diabetes were explained to the patients and general public after the `Diabetes Walk,' with a participation of 320 persons, was taken out near the GRH on Monday to mark the World Diabetes Day.

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