Updated: November 5, 2021 11:51:14 am
Researchers have advised that screening for diabetes should begin at 25 years, much earlier than the government recommendation of 30 years.
In a country-wide study, published in the the medical journal ‘Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome – Clinical Research and Reviews’, the researchers say data from multiple tertiary diabetes centres across the country shows a trend of increasing prevalence of diabetes in the younger age group in the last decade.
The current recommendation from the government and ICMR is to begin screening for diabetes at 30 years. After analysing the data from the diabetes centres, the researchers found that 77.6 per cent of those below 30 were either overweight or obese.
India has around 77 million people with diabetes.
“It takes 8-10 years of uncontrolled diabetes for people to develop complications. This happens to 50-90% of patients in the country. Billions are spent treating the avoidable complications of diabetes affecting kidney, heart, nervous system, eyes etc. More and more productive younger age group being affected with diabetes will have a serious socio-economic impact,” the study says.
“There is an urgent requirement to promote a low fat, low sugar, low salt diet and appropriate daily exercise from childhood onwards. Those 25 years and older with a protuberant belly or those who are overweight or obese or with a family history of diabetes among their close relatives should test for diabetes at least once in a year even though they feel healthy otherwise,” it says.
Dr Anoop Misra, the lead author, said the government should lower the age of screening.
Co-author Dr Jothydev Kesavadev said: “The prevalence of diabetes in Kerala is more than twice when compared to other states in India. The same trend is observed with higher prevalence of diabetes among the younger population in Kerala. We need to be proactive in urgently promoting testing and healthy lifestyles especially in the wake of World Diabetes Day on November 14.”
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