Awareness level low about diabetes: Study

Myths regarding disease common among Delhiites

Nearly 88 per cent of Delhi residents who have at least one member in the family suffering from diabetes, have never gotten their blood sugar checked. More than half of them do not know about added complications of organs like kidneys and heart associated with diabetes.

These were the conclusions of a study conducted among family members of diabetics. Three hundred subjects each from Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai were surveyed.

“The study was to understand if people who are at a high risk of diabetes, associated with a family member living with the disease, are getting themselves screened at regular intervals. We mapped if they subscribe to common myths about diabetes,” said Bappa Majumdar, Principal Consultant, Heal Foundation.

It was found that while 41.7 per cent respondents correctly believed that lack of or defect in insulin causes diabetes, only 11.7 per cent were aware of hereditary factors related to it. Among the many myths, consuming alcohol was considered as one reason.

It was also found that 45 per cent did not know whether diabetes can be cured or controlled. More than 90 per cent did not have an instrument at home to measure blood sugar levels.

Dr Anoop Misra, chairperson, Center of Diabetes, Fortis Hospital said, “The average age for diabetes is becoming lower. Two days ago I have started treating a 12-year-old child for diabetes type-2. Junk food is mainly responsible for this. Unless there are government regulations, none can do anything. Advertisements of junk food during prime time should stop and there has to be control over use of fatty acids in cooking. He said according to a study, diabetes burden on Indian exchequer is Rs 1800 million.

“A normal diabetic spends roughly Rs 24,000 a year on treatment. With more complications, the cost increases. Thus prevention through exercises is one way of saving this money of the nation,” he said.

Among the respondents, 52.3 per cent of Delhiites had said they never involve themselves in any physical exercises and only 23.7 per cent did some physical work once a week.

“There are three stages -- knowledge, attitude and practice. In India awareness levels are low. But even among people with knowledge, translation to attitude and practice is low too,” added Misra. He said owing to resources availability, upper class manages to have high conversion rate. However, it is not true for middle and lower middle class.

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