Chennai: Despite awareness being found to be very high in the state on diabetes as a disease, it continues to be one of the biggest contributors to the country’s burden, say doctors.
In an ‘Indian Council for Medical Research’ (ICMR-INDAB) study done last year —where in 15 states and a few Union Territories were studied —- it was found that Tamil Nadu stood number one, after Chandigarh.
The burden is not only found to be on the rise in the state, but in the country as well. The Government of India, on Tuesday, said that as many as 3.46 lakh people died of diabetes in 2015, up from 2.24 lakh in 2005, with the deadly disease climbing to the seventh position on the list of causes of deaths in the country.
The increase in numbers from 2005 to 2015 has led to the shift from 11th position to the seventh position in terms of the cause of death due to diabetes, Minister of State for Health Delhi, Faggan Singh Kulaste had said, according to a PTI report on Tuesday. He had also said that the prevalence of diabetes in the country was nearly 70 million in 2015.
“The numbers are probably guesstimates. However, they serve to stand as indicators of the fact that Diabetes is increasing and that steps need to be taken to bring down the burden,” said Dr V. Mohan, President and Director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, and Chairman of Dr Mohan’s Group of Diabetes. Stating that there is not much of a difference between urban and rural in Tamil Nadu in terms of the burden of the disease, he said that the rural rates are also very high.
Stressing on the importance of a regular surveillance to be conducted, diabetologist Dr S. Arvindan said, “Only when a constant check is done in an area will the government be able to see actual changes and do something about it.”
With the health department of the state government taking all measures to screen the general public, doctors are of the hope that the burden will come down in the state soon.
“According to the ICMR-INDAB study, earlier, in Tamil Nadu, for every known diabetic, there were two who were unaware of having the disease. However, now, it is seen that for every two people with diabetes, only one is unknown,” said Dr. Mohan, adding that the Tamil Nadu government had screened 23 million adults for Diabetes over two to three years ago.
“Actual awareness, treatment and care in Tamil Nadu are one of the best in the country. When I visited some of the rural areas, I found that people were coming forward with their blood sugar reports, scans, and haemoglobin reports. The government had scanned them all,” he added, amazed.