India has 101 million people living with diabetes: ICMR

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A recently published study conducted by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Indian Council of Medical Research has revealed that India is home to approximately 101 million individuals living with diabetes. Additionally, there are about 136 million people in pre-diabetic stages. The study focused on examining the occurrence of metabolic disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol levels, within the population.

These findings hold significant value as they can assist the states in formulating health policies that specifically target these non-communicable diseases. By utilizing a substantial representative sample of over 113,000 individuals from 31 states and union territories across the country, the researchers were able to determine the prevalence of various metabolic disorders, particularly diabetes, among the Indian population.

The study found:

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  • More than a quarter of the population was either diabetic or in pre-diabetic stage. 11.4% of India’s population or 101 million people are living with diabetes. Whereas 15.3% of the population or an additional 136 million people are pre-diabetic. This is concerning as the researchers say that almost half of the pre-diabetics may convert to diabetes within five years or so.
  • The prevalence of hypertension or high blood pressure was found to be higher still in the country. Around 35.5% of the population or 315 million people are living with the condition as per the study.

Prevalence of non-Communicable diseases in India

  • In addition to BMI (body mass index) that is generally used as a measure for obesity, the Indiab researchers looked at abdominal or central obesity. This is because Indians tend to gather fat in the abdominal region and despite the BMI being normal people might be at a higher risk of diseases of obesity.
  • The study found that 28.6% of the population would be considered to be obese as per the BMI measure, 39.5% of the population or 351 million people had abdominal obesity.
  • The study also found that 24% of the population or 213 million people were living with hypercholesterolemia — a condition where the bad cholesterol or LDL levels are high.
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