India – Puducherry has over 48,000 known diabetics, says study
PUDUCHERRY: A community-based study in the Union Territory, the first of its kind, has revealed that about six per cent of the general population in the region are ‘known’ diabetics. The study includes both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, with the bulk being of the second category.
The study conducted by the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) estimated that there were 48,876 known diabetics living in Puducherry, which has a total population of 10 lakh.
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, PIMS, Anil Jacob Purty, said, “We undertook the study to estimate the prevalence of known diabetics in Muthialpet. It was conducted from 2002 to 2007. The data was then used to extrapolate the number of persons diagnosed with diabetes in Puducherry region.”
The Urban Health Centre area that was surveyed covered a population living in 12 square kilometre area between Salai Street and Thidal Street along the East Coast Road. A total of 2,677 families resided in the area, accounting for 11,835 persons.
Home visits were carried out to identify persons diagnosed with diabetes and taking treatment in the private and public health sectors. Laboratory reports and prescriptions/drugs taken for treatment at least for the last six months, were verified to confirm identity, Dr. Purty added. Researchers found that 684 individuals — 317 men and 367 women — in the study area were aware they had been diagnosed with diabetes. The youngest diabetic was a six-month-old girl child who was on treatment for Type 1 diabetes, he stated.
Based on this data, the age-sex specific prevalence was extrapolated using the 2001 Census date for Puducherry. “The number of diabetics living in a small area was surprising. There are persons who remain undiagnosed,” he said. In people aged above 20 years, the prevalence of known diabetics was 8.2 per cent, he added.
One of the critical findings of the study was that at least 30 per cent of the immediate family members of known diabetics were at high risk of diabetes, stressing the need for intervention and physical activity, the professor said. “We used the Indian Diabetes Risk Score developed by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai, to identify persons who were at high risk of diabetes. This group should be further screened for blood glucose level. We have already started the testing process. It is likely that 10 to 20 per cent of them will be diabetic,” he said.
Results of the study have been published in the International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries in the March 2009 edition.