India now has the dubious distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world with more than 101 million diabetics in the country, according to an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study published in The Lancet that also red-flagged the growth in other lifestyle diseases. The number of diabetics has risen sharply from 70 million in 2019 and there are alarming statistics about the number of pre-diabetics in India. Most worrying is the fact that the young are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to the disease. While Goa, Puducherry and Kerala have the highest number of cases, the study warns of an explosion of cases in low diabetic states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal because of the large of number of pre-diabetics there. It has also highlighted the rise in hypertension and obesity. These largely first world ailments are now becoming the norm not only in urban India but also in rural parts.
Rise in cases of diabetes
The increase in such diseases can be attributed to drastic lifestyle changes, alteration in dietary habits and largely sedentary lives. It is imperative for the health authorities to work on an action plan to firstly detect cases of diabetes as a large number go undetected for years. There is an acute necessity to initiate diabeticchecks at the primary healthcare level itself. Trained diabetologists must be brought into the picture to halt any exponential growth in cases. There must be an attempt to disseminate information about the necessity for regular exercise and wholesome diets that include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and healthy fats. A campaign against consumption of excess sugar, salt and junk food must be launched. People must be made aware of the dangers of diabetes and also taught how to prevent its onset with a healthy lifestyle. It is not too late to stop the rapid spread of non-communicable diseases, but action must be taken on a war footing.
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