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Diabetes: A Serious Concern for Indian People

27 Dec 2022 9 mins read

Do you know that India is conferred as ‘Diabetes Capital of the World?’ It counts 17% of total number of diabetes cases in the world. The current scenario of diabetic cases in India is even more devastating.

According to statistics, 1 out of 11 people in India are now being diagnosed with diabetes, while 1 out of 5 are estimated to already have diabetes. India is in the second position after China in diabetes globally with 77 million people suffering from diabetes. Among these, 12.1 million are below 65 years and this number will increase more in the future.

International Diabetes Federation has stated that 134 millions will get diabetes by 2045. So, Indians will become more susceptible to kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, comas and organ damage. 

The worst part is that nearly 57% of adults having diabetes in India are still undiagnosed. This denotes almost 43.9 million Indians do not know about the seriousness which is a major concern of blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, heart attacks and stroke.

It becomes the prime health concern for the country to combat diabetes and ensure a healthy and happy life. The combination of obesity and diabetes will form diabesity, which becomes the biggest epidemic in this country. It will remain the silent killer for Indians as we consider it as normal and concern about other health hazards such as respiratory ailments, cancer malignancies, COVID-19 and much more.

So, it is important on your part to delve deeper into the nuances of every condition and find out effective solutions to overcome them. By now, diabetes is believed to a silent killer which makes either life-long battle or life-threatening for many people.

Experts recommend following Diabetes Remission (DR) programs which has helped many people to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and find their overall condition in remission before starting their journey with taking necessary medications for better health.

Here we will give you a glimpse of prevalence of diabetes in India and what you should do to manage it.

What is diabetes?

What is diabetes

Before we proceed further, we must have a brief knowledge about diabetes. We all know that it is a medical complexity that takes place because of inadequate secretion and production of insulin from pancreas. There are two types of diabetes- type 1 and type 2.

In type 1, there is lack of insulin production and in type 2, there is defective response of insulin. In a healthy body, it is insulin that regulates the level of blood glucose. Insulin is the hormone secreted by pancreas.

When there is an elevation in the level of glucose in blood for any reason, insulin starts secreting for balancing it out. The diabetic patients are not able to produce ample amount of insulin which results in hyperglycemia.

How much diabetes is prevalent in India?

Diabetes refers to as lifestyle condition that is increasing alarmingly across different age groups in this subcontinent. Moreover, in recent years its prevalence is quite noticeable in young generations and it rises up to 10%.

Diabetes in India has become double in these last 20 years and this has shaken the present health care infrastructure completely that has not grown proportionately. The data shows 1 in 5 adults are estimated to suffer from diabetes and you need to rethink about sustainable diabetes care delivery. 

With breakthrough finding of diabetes remission, there has been a shift towards the idea of diabetes care, from glucocentric drug therapy approach, to a large scale prevention strategy. This has targeted the root cause of diabetes.

Young Indians within 25 to 34 years have been accounted for 50% of all consultations. And this has recorded a 46% YoY increase. Doctors suggest lack of exercise, improper dietary habits or poor lifestyle choices are some factors which may contribute to the rise in diabetes among youngsters in India.

In general, 50% of consultations were from people in the age group of 25 – 34 years which had been followed by 33% between 35 to 44 years and 8% between 45 to 54 years.

According to the report of November 2017 by ICMR, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Public Health Foundation of India the number of diabetes cases have increased up to 64% in the last quarter of century.

International Diabetes Federation and the Global Burden of Disease project forecasted that around 98million of Indian people will suffer from diabetes by the end of 2030.

As far as India is concerned, millions of children are also affected by diabetes. They are getting metabolic syndrome and obesity at such a young age because of dietary change and consumption of more fast and processed foods.

With so many diseases to combat, India is also dealing with diabetes as it becomes the prime concern. It is clear during the outburst of COVID-19 pandemic that the patients with co-morbidities such as diabetes experienced the worst outcomes along with black fungus or mucormycosis.

As our country has the highest number of diabetic patients across the globe we are facing a serious threat towards our health with this sugar condition. You will be surprised to know that as per WHO there is estimated death of 3.4 million of people because of high blood sugar all over the world.

Now, you need to think what is more important- your health or your affluent westernised lifestyle?   

Why Indians are so much prone to diabetes?

Lifestyle change is the key attribute behind this exponential rise in the case of diabetes in India. The drastic change in body weight, irregular exercise and diet deposits high amount of unwanted fat in the body which triggers the condition.

Regardless of the mechanism, Indians are more susceptible to diabetes than any other persons in the world. Various studies on native and migrant Indians revealed that the main reason behind the increase of this epidemic is their predilection or genetic predisposition.

Moreover, westernisation has a lot of influence in people’s lives especially in the city dwellers. There is a vast change in traditional diets, lifestyle and less physical activity make them vulnerable to develop diabetes.

Even, the innovations and inventions give a major drop in our daily activities. The migration of rural people to urban areas in search of work has some sort of influence. Most importantly, stress has a crucial role to play as well although it is not quantifiable yet.

Lifestyle and environmental changes are quite significant because of this so-called industrialisation. It is considered as the prime suspect for epidemic of type 2 diabetes in India. Obesity, on another hand increases the amount of visceral fat from physical inactivity and intake of high carb, high fat and high calorie sugar diets which in turn proves out to be a key contributing factor.

But the factor which is not in our control is higher level of insulin resistance. So anatomically, our cells don’t respond to insulin hormone. So blood sugar level tends to elevate when we consume carbohydrates persistently.     

3 key factors to contribute to diabetes amongst Indian

In this section we will evaluate the top 3 attributes of diabetes which spike up the number of cases everyday in India. The three factors are rapid Epidemiological transition, Genetic predisposition and Insulin resistance.

  1. Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance

If compared to other people in the world, Indians possess high insulin resistance ability. So, it is the fundamental cause behind the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in this country.

Even according to the stats, hyperinsulinemia, the condition of great insulin level to the load of glucose is more common in Indians than Europeans. Therefore, there is a high chance that an Indian person with similar BMI, sex and age to that of a European can have diabetes. 

The major ways for minimising insulin resistance are following weight loss diet, enhancing daily workout and take diabetic drugs prescribed by your doctor. They will specially prescribe insulin sensitizers for alleviating the blood sugar level and insulin resistance remarkably.

  1. Genetic predisposition

Insulin resistance

Genetic susceptibility has a vital role to develop type 2 diabetes in a person. So, an Indian person is at risk to get diabetes at a very young age in contrast to Europeans.

According to the survey of CUPS (Chennai Urban Population) in Chennai, they found that a person with family history of diabetes is at brink to get this condition more than the respondents without any history (18.2% vs. 10.6%). Moreover, the chance of developing diabetes can shot up to 55% directly if both parents are diabetic. 

Fortunately, not every hereditary aspect is beyond the control. Because of complicated and multifactoral disease, type 2 diabetes provides a considerable link between environmental and genetic factors that can trigger several intermediate traits. So, a simple lifestyle chance can control several genetic factors such as obesity, fat distribution, insulin action and insulin secretion for better management of the condition. 

  1. Epidemiological transition

This is the most imperative attribute behind the rising numbers of diabetes cases in India these days. India is truly undergoing Epidemiological Transition which is why the patterns of distribution in population based on primes causes of death, life expectancy, mortality and fertility are changed.

In this country, the urbanisation rate was just 15% in 1950 which is 35% today. So, it will definitely have an impact on future and current trends of disease with respect to 2 major conditions- coronary artery disease and diabetes.

We already discussed that the prime causes behind our physical inactivity are technological and socioeconomic advancements. In fact because of our affluent lifestyle we consume diet loaded with calories, sugar and fats too. Moreover, long working hours at office put us in mental stress, which have in turn put adverse effect in insulin sensitivity.

How do you manage diabetes?

How do you manage diabetes

It is really a tough challenge to face by the Indian people especially, who are diabetic. However, every Indian people despite the age should take preventive measures against diabetes even if they don’t have diabetes.

As per medical expert, on time detection and early management can assist the patients to lead a happy and normal life. Although it is a chronic health condition but you can curb down diabetes easily by bringing lifestyle changes initially.

Moreover, medication will control the blood sugar level at early stages and external insulin administration will do the job in advanced stages. However, don’t expect that it will cure completely and will not return for the rest of life.

So, if you are diabetic then adopt a healthy lifestyle including perfect body weight, minimum alcohol consumption, stop smoking and daily physical activity or exercise. Plus, regular health checkups with the doctor are really beneficial to evaluate the sugar level in blood and prevent further associated health complications.


In a nutshell, alleviation of risk of diabetes involves reduction of obesity, weight and introduction physical activity in daily routine. These are applicable to both kids and adults with diabetes. If you are a mother-to-be then opt for programs that promote healthy foetal and infant growth.

The easiest and simplest trick to do so is to have traditional high-fibre meals and proper stress management with ancient practices of meditation and yoga. With such endeavour you can address an epidemic like diabetes and can reduce it significantly.