Prevalence of Diabetes in India vs. Worldwide | Blog

Prevalence of Diabetes in India vs. Worldwide | Blog

Diabetes is becoming more often diagnosed all around the world, particularly in India. With over 1.3 billion people, India has the second-highest overall population in the world. 

With more than 77 million people in India already living with diabetes, the disease is quickly assuming the position of a possible epidemic. With 31.7 million patients, India had the greatest prevalence of diabetes worldwide in 2000. China (20.8 million) and the United States (17.7 million) came in second and third, respectively.

By 2030, the number of people with diabetes is expected to double worldwide, from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million, with India seeing the largest growth. By 2030, it is expected that diabetes mellitus will affect up to 79.4 million people in India, 42.3 million people in China, and 30.3 million people in the United States. 

These numbers represent significant increases from the current estimated prevalence of the disease.  

The burden of diabetes in India

India has a population of about 1.3 billion, which is roughly four times that of the United States. However, the number of diabetic population in India increased from 40.9 million in 2007 to 72.9 million as of 2017. As a result, India has the largest proportion of diabetics of any nation in the entire world. 

The majority of this rise in instances is because of the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in India, which is brought on by insulin resistance and the pancreas' steady decline in insulin production. Type 2 diabetes may be brought on by a wide range of conditions, such as :

  • Hereditary 
  • Environmental conditions 
  • Lifestyle choices 

In India, impaired glucose tolerance, or IGT, is becoming a bigger problem. Although this estimate may be overstated, it is believed that the prevalence of IGT is approximately 8.7% in urban areas and 7.9% in rural areas. India is indeed experiencing a healthcare crisis because it is estimated that 35% of IGT patients go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Cause of prevalence 

Daily life in India is constantly evolving, much like in many other cultures. The way of life of urban residents differs completely from that of rural residents.

Diabetes is more common in India than in other countries because of a combination of environmental and genetic causes, including obesity brought on by rising living standards, continuous urban migration, and alterations in lifestyle. 

The following factors have all been connected to rising diabetes prevalence in India:

  • Obesity, particularly central obesity and growing visceral fat as a result of physical inactivity, as well as consumption of high-calorie/high-fat and high-sugar diets, are key contributors.
  • High-carbohydrate, oil- and fat-containing foods.
  • Consumption of processed meats has increased.
  • Low consumption of whole grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
  • Sedentary lifestyles contribute to insulin resistance, increased screen time, and consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
  • Air pollution and other environmental hazards. 
  • Cholesterol and high blood pressure.

What could be done? 

  • To reduce the disease burden caused by diabetes in India, adequate government interventions and collaborative efforts from all societal stakeholders are required.
  • Adequate healthcare systems, as well as frequent screenings and tests, should be emphasized. Especially for those with a family history of diabetes or a history of heart disease.
  • Diabetes was estimated to affect 77 million people in India in 2019, with that figure anticipated to climb to over 134 million by 2045. Almost 57% of these people are still undiagnosed. Even though everyone don't need to follow a diabetic diet, it's better to watch out for carbohydrate content. 
  • Early detection and screening for pre-diabetes (particularly in pregnant women, children, and people with BMI ≥23) may cause beneficial health outcomes in society. A 2020 study demonstrated that simple measures such as waist to hip ratio(WHR), Waist to height ratio (WHtR) and Waist circumference (WC) were better in detecting type 2 diabetes in the Indian population.
  • Government policies may aid in the development of diabetes management guidelines and the funding of community programmes to raise public awareness of diabetes and its complications. 
  •  Availability of medicines and diagnostic services to all segments of the population is also required. 

World's stand on diabetes

According to the IDF, around 537 million people worldwide have diabetes, with the majority living in low- and middle-income countries, and diabetes is directly responsible for 1.5 million fatalities per year. Diabetes has been progressively increasing in both the number of cases and its prevalence during the last few decades.  

Diabetes is becoming more prevalent in India and other countries of the world for a variety of reasons, such as obesity, inactive lifestyle, etc. 

The bottom line

Diabetes is becoming more common worldwide, with India seeing a significant increase in diagnoses. Diabetes and its associated consequences cause considerable morbidity and mortality, imposing major healthcare burdens on both families and society.

The steady migration of individuals from rural to urban regions, the economic development, and the resulting shift in lifestyle all impact the level of diabetes in India. Access to diabetes care and education is a critical first step in addressing this problem. As a precaution, try to follow a diet that's diabetic-friendly or low in carbohydrates. 


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