Diabetes has widened its patient base in India by almost 100 percent in the past 13 years, an assessment by World Health Organization (WHO) revealed.
According to the recent WHO report, the number of people with diabetes in India almost doubled from 32 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2013. Moreover, the number is estimated to increase to 101.2 million in the next 15 years, reported The Times of India. In India, according to WHO, around 75,900 males and 51,700 females in the age group of 30-69 years died due to diabetes in 2015, whereas 46,800 males and 45,600 females above 70 years of age died of the disease.
At the moment 7.8 percent of Indians above the age of 18 has raised blood glucose levels, and 60 million live with diabetes, DNA said, quoting WHO estimates.
The UN agency observes World Health Day on 7 April every year. At a press briefing on Thursday, it announced diabetes as their theme for this year in a briefing.
An estimated 69.2 million Indians are diabetics as per the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2015. Among the population aged between 20 and 70 years, 8.7 percent are estimated to have diabetes.
However, nearly half of the population with diabetes is unaware about their disease. In 2014, out of an estimated 9.8 million deaths, two percent were due to diabetes-related complications, according to the body.
Since India is a country of multiple cultures and changing lifestyles preferences, it stands highly vulnerable to the possibly fatal disease.
"Diabetes is of particular concern in the South East Asian Region. More than one out of every four of the 3.7 million diabetes-related deaths globally occur in this region," Poonam Khetrapal, director for WHO South East Asian region said on Tuesday.
The South East Asian Region is generally considered to be made up of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, and East Timor.
"Diabetes rarely makes headlines, and yet it will be the world's seventh largest killer by 2030 unless intense and focused efforts are made by governments, communities and individuals," Khetrapal had further added.
However, with adequate precautions and changes in lifestyle, the risk of diabetes can be decreased.
"Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes; achieve and maintain healthy body weight; be physically active; eat a healthy diet; and avoid tobacco use," Henk Bekadam, WHO Representative to India had said during the Thursday briefing.
"Early screening, increased access to health care services, affordable diagnosis and treatment and patient empowerment for self-management are also vital components of the control of diabetes," Bekadam had suggested.
With inputs from agencies