If we go by the latest study, India has become the diabetes capital of the world. As many as 101 million people in India are now living with diabetes, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research–India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study. What’s alarming is that the figure shot up by 44 percent just in four years. Back in 2019, 70 million people had diabetes in the country. Read on to find out which all places have highest cases of diabetes, and what an expert has to say about it.
For the study, published in the Lancet, researchers assessed a representative sample of people aged 20 years and older. They were from picked from 31 states, union territories, and the National Capital Territory of India.
Highest prevalence of diabetes in India
As per the study, the highest prevalence of diabetes was seen in Goa with 26.4 percent, closely followed by Puducherry (26.3 percent). The third spot went to Kerala with 25.5 percent. According to the study, there can be an explosion of diabetes cases in states with lower prevalence. So, people in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh should be careful.
Health Shots consulted Delhi-based internal medicine expert Dr Shuchin Bajaj, who is also founder Director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals regarding the rising cases of diabetes in India.
Factors responsible for rise in diabetes cases
The increase in the number of people with diabetes in India can be attributed to several factors.
1. Sedentary lifestyle
Many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, with heavy dependence on technology. Lack of physical activity contributes to obesity, which is a significant risk factor for type-2 diabetes.
2. Unhealthy diets
Changes in diet patterns, including a shift towards a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet, have contributed to the rise in diabetes cases, says Dr Bajaj. Increased consumption of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats has played a role in weight gain and insulin resistance.
India has witnessed a rise in the prevalence of obesity, which is strongly associated with the development of type-2 diabetes. Excess body weight can lead to insulin resistance, where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin.
4. Genetic factors
There is a genetic predisposition to diabetes, and certain people may have a higher susceptibility to developing the condition. Family history and genetic factors can increase the risk of developing both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, says the expert.
5. Urbanization and stress
Rapid urbanization has brought about significant lifestyle changes, including increased work-related stress, irregular eating habits, and disrupted sleep patterns. They all contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
Prediabetes and prevention
The study also revealed that least 136 million people in the country have prediabetes, which refers to a health condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. But they are not yet high enough to be labelled as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the future. However, with lifestyle modifications like changes in diet and increased physical activity, it is possible to prevent or delay the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes, says the expert.
Top tips to prevent diabetes
1. Maintain a healthy weight
By adopting a healthy eating plan and engaging in regular physical activity, people can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. So start eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Try to eat less processed foods, sugary beverages, and high-calorie snacks even if they are tempting.
2. Engage in regular physical activity
Regular exercise to helps improve insulin sensitivity and is a great way to maintain a healthy weight. Dedicate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, suggests the expert. Throw in some strength training exercises too.
3. Limit alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is linked with an increased risk of diabetes. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation, which means up to one drink per day for women, says Dr Bajaj.
While keeping these points in mind can be helpful, don’t forget to go for regular medical check-ups. Your blood sugar levels can be monitored and early signs of diabetes or prediabetes can be identified.