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Bangalore sitting on a ticking diabetes bomb

Friday, 2 November 2012 - 4:05pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Though a whopping 88% of Bangaloreans with the disease in the family refrain from getting screened.

As many as 88% of Bangaloreans do not consider going for screening for diabetes, despite having at least one of their family members already diagnosed with diabetes, a recent survey has revealed.

People are reluctant to act on preventive measures despite the fact that diabetes has assumed epidemic proportions in India today. According to the survey conducted as part of the Sanofi Diabetes Blue Fortnight 2012- Sweetened by Nirlife NutraSweet by HEAL Foundation, there is a huge need to convert awareness into action, especially among those with a family history of diabetes.

The Fortnight is an initiative of the ministry of health & family welfare, International Diabetes Federation, Archaeological Survey of India and HEAL Foundation, a not-for-profit health awareness and advocacy group.

The survey, titled ‘INDIA POLD’ (Perceptions in families Of people Living with Diabetes), was conducted across three cities - Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi - and involved 900 individuals from families with at least one member diagnosed with diabetes. There were 300 respondents from Bangalore.

The survey’s findings show that the whopping majority constituting 88% of the city’s residents do not go for blood sugar level screenings even though they have a family history of diabetes, and one or more of the family members has already been diagnosed with the disease.

The survey revealed that only 50% of the people, who had at least one family member suffering from diabetes, are aware of correct causative mechanism of the disease; yet they do not get themselves screened for diabetes at regular intervals despite being at high risk.

At least 49% of Bangaloreans are unaware of how diabetes behaves in the long run and 19% believe that it can be cured by treatment. A staggering 70% of the people in Bangalore do not know anything about the complications of the disease. Most importantly, 57% of the people are not physically active at all and 90% have never seen a nutritionist for planning meals for them or their family members despite being at a high risk.

“Over the past few years, the prevalence of diabetes in the country has really assumed epidemic proportions and is now a very large public health problem, growing astronomically year after year. The problem is set to increase manifold if awareness among the masses does not translate into action,” said Dr Mala Dharmalingam, head of department, endocrinology, MS Ramaiah Medical College.

According to the International Diabetes Federation’s 2011 data, the country with highest number of diabetics is China (90.0 million) followed by India (61.3 million) and India will continue to hold this position and would have 101.2 million diabetics just behind China’s 129.7 million diabetics by 2030.

According to Cyrus Aibara, Senior Director- Diabetes Business Unit, Sanofi India, “We hope that the INDIA POLD survey will help in further sensitizing the people of India on the importance of translating this awareness into action”.

Dr Pawan Gupta, advisor, HEAL Foundation, said “The survey will be a great help while aligning future strategies around diabetes awareness and education.”

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