Diabetes has substantially increased the risk of death from a broad spectrum of diseases, including renal disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, a significant study has found.
The study, published in American Medical Association’s biomedical journal JAMA Network Open, also found that the relative risk of death due to diabetes itself was much stronger among individuals who were underweight.
The findings suggest that there is an urgent need to “develop diabetes management programs that are tailored to Asian populations and the subsequent strong implementation of these programs in Asia”.
The study, led by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, also found that the magnitude of the associations varied by sex, age, BMI, and smoking status.
Compared to men and older adults, women and middle-aged adults showed higher diabetes-related risk of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, and renal disease. The study concluded that the diabetes epidemic is only to accelerate in Asia resulting in many Asian individuals developing and living with diabetes and its complications.
Titled ‘Association of Diabetes With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in Asia’, the study examined more than one million individuals for an average of 12.6 years and included 22 prospective cohort studies in multiple countries and regions—mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, India, and Bangladesh—participating in the Asia Cohort Consortium (ACC).
“Whether this may increase their risk of premature death once they develop diabetes has not yet been determined,” the study’s corresponding author Wei Zheng noted.
This study is pertinent for India in the light of Asia becoming the home to the largest diabetic populations in the world with India (110 million) and China (69.2 million) today having the highest diabetes burden in the world.
While currently, there are more than 230 million Asian individuals living with diabetes, accounting for approximately 55% of the world’s diabetic population, this number is expected to exceed 355 million by 2040. As per the World Health Organisation, India is projected to have close to 70 million diabetics by 2025.