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14.12.10

One out of 10 people in Tamil Nadu is diabetic, and every two persons in a group of 25 are in the pre-diabetic stage. These statistics from phase 1 of the Indian Council of Medical Research's INDIAB (India-diabetes) nationwide study have confirmed some of the worst fears of medical experts and policy makers, and come as warning signals to the public at large.

Nearly, 80% of people have abnormal lipid profile, which means high amount of fat and bad cholesterol, coupled with low levels of good cholesterol. About 28% are hypertensive and 20% have high cholesterol.

"For the first time, we have comprehensive data on the prevalence of a host of lifestyle disorders. We now know how many people in the state are at risk of complications such as cardiac diseases, renal failure, stroke and vascular disorders," said diabetologist Dr R M Anjana, team leader of the study.

The Madras Diabetes Research Foundation launched the study, the largest in the country and supported by ICMR, to determine the prevalence of type-2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension in India, compare the urban-rural divide, estimate the risk for heart diseases and the effects of treatment.


The study, in three phases, will cover people above the age of 20 in urban and rural areas of 28 states and two union territories, besides New Delhi. Phase 1 of the study covered 4,000 people each in Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

"It is important for us to help prevent the incidence of diabetes. At the same time, it is also important that we deliver quality healthcare to people diagnosed with the disorder. The study has shown that just 1/3 of the people have good control of their sugar level while they are on treatment," said Dr Anjana.

Low awareness and lack of preventive steps remain major concerns. In urban areas, for every two persons who knew their diabetic condition, there was one person who was not aware of it. In the rural areas, the ratio was one is to one. "It's not just the problem of awareness, the study shows a steep increase in lifestyle-related problems in the rural areas. The numbers we see in the rural areas today are similar to what we saw in Chennai more than 10 years ago," said Dr V Mohan, head of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.

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