Health Ministry releases National Diabetes survey , 1 in every 8 person diabetic, visual impairment reduced by 52 percent.

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The Union Health Ministry's first National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey (2015-2019) was released today by Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. It has highlighted the major points related to diabetes and it's associated complications and their prevelance rate among Indian population.

The prevalence of diabetes in India has remained at 11.8% in the last four years, according to the National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey report released by the health and family welfare ministry on Thursday.
One in eight persons above 50 years in India is a diabetic; One in every 46 diabetics is blind; and one in seven has some form of impairment in their vision due to high blood sugar levels.

The survey conducted during 2015-2019 by Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi also showed that the prevalence of known diabetes cases was 8.0% and new diabetes cases was 3.8%.
For this, the health ministry collaborated with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)- RP Eye Centre to conduct this massive survey in which 21 districts were included. The total sample size for survey was 63,000 people aged 50 years and above.

"Our aim was to assess the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) among people with diabetes and to evaluate the coverage of diabetic retinopathy examinations among people with known diabetes," (Prof) Dr Atul Kumar, Chief of RP Eye Centre at AIIMS told ANI.

The present survey was therefore planned to estimate the burden of diabetic retinopathy in the population aged >=50 years for assisting the planning and prioritization of diabetic eye services, said Dr Kumar.

“Males showed a similar prevalence of diabetes (12%) as females (11.7%). Known diabetics comprised 67.3% participants, while 32.7% were new diabetics. Highest prevalence of diabetes was observed in 70-79 years age group at 13.2%. Nearly 40% of known diabetes were diagnosed 1-4 years back while 5.3% of known diabetes cases reported diagnosis within past one-year," the report said.

Under the survey, prevalence of diabetes among 63,000 enumerated population aged up to 50 years in 21 districts, 56,771 or 90.1% were assessed for diabetes.

When diabetic retinopathy among diabetics was assessed during the survey, the prevalence of any form of diabetic retinopathy in diabetic population aged up to 50 years was found to be 16.9%.

“Mild retinopathy was the most common with prevalence of 11.8%. We observed 7% participants had any form of diabetic maculopathy. The prevalence of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy was 3.6%. The prevalence of DR was similar among males (17.0%) and females (16.7%), the report said.

The prevalence of DR (diabetic retinopathy) in the 60-69 years age group was 18.6%, 70-79 years was 18.3% and >80 years was 18.4% while a lower prevalence of 14.3% was observed in the 50-59 years age group," the report said.

Prevalence of blindness among diabetics was 2.1% and visual impairment was 13.7%. Blindness and visual impairment were comparable in diabetics and non-diabetics.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age as 8.5% in 2014. There are estimated 72.96 million cases of diabetes in adult population of India. The prevalence in urban areas ranges between 10.9% and 14.2% and prevalence in rural India was 3.0-7.8% among population aged 20 years and above with a much higher prevalence among individuals aged over 50 years (INDIAB Study).

Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy have been emerging as a significant non-communicable disease leading to ocular morbidity. It is estimated that diabetic retinopathy was responsible for 1.06% of blindness and 1.16% of visual impairment globally in 2015. There are no recent studies on the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in different parts of India. This makes it difficult to identify where diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment programmes are most needed, the government said.

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