Diabetes Capital of World? Study to Find Out
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19 February 2011
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
One Lakh To Be Tested For Glucose Levels, Lipid Profile Of Every Fifth Sample
Is India actually the world’s diabetes capital? The Indian Council of Medical Research has now rolled out the Indian National Diabetes Study (INDIAB) to find out the actual numbers.
At present, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that India is home to an estimated 50.8 million diabetics – a number that will increase to 87 million – 8.4% of the country’s adult population – by 2030.
However, the government now wants to know – by the best method possible – if the numbers are true. It will take one lakh blood samples randomly from the general population and test them for glucose levels.
The same was the story with India’s HIV numbers. Global estimates had put India’s HIV patient burden was close to 5.2 million. In 2007, serological tests more than halved that number to 2.4 million. Under a pilot study, INDIAB was originally rolled out in 2010 in four states – Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Tamil Nadu.
After testing 16,000 people all aged above 20 years, preliminary results have shown that in Maharashtra, 9.1% of people in urban areas and 5.6% in rural areas were diabetic. The prevalence stood at 11.7% in urban and 6.6% in rural Tamil Nadu, 13% in urban and 11.9% in rural Chandigarh, and 11.4% in urban and 2.8% in rural Jharkhand.
ICMR has now rolled out the study in eight north–eastern states where it is presently preparing a lab and trained manpower network with the help of Regional Medical Research Centre, Dibrugarh. Around 32,000 people will be tested from this region.
"We will roll out INDIAB nationally very soon. The 17 remaining states will be part of this study. One lakh blood samples will be collected and tested for glucose levels. Every fifth subject will be tested for lipid parameters and ECG to see diabetes–related complications," a Union health ministry official told TOI.
He said, "The study will first look at the actual prevalence of diabetes and pre–diabetes across states and urban and rural areas. Then it will see the prevalence of micro and macrovascular complications in self–reported diabetics like its effect on the heart, kidney and nerves.
The final phase of the study will be to look at genetic molecular markers in the blood samples to see what could be predisposing Indians to diabetes which will help us in early detection. INDIAB will take a total of three years."
The last time ICMR did a population–based diabetes survey was in 1974. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has been very proactive about bringing India’s diabetes epidemic under check.