‘Am I at risk’ in epidemic like scenario of diabetes mellitus


By Dr.J.K. Bhutani

The Indians are fast emerging as the most DIABETES prone people in the world. The urban-rural, rich-poor, young-old difference is becoming insignificant. Most of this burden is of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The current population of people with diabetes is more than 380 million which is estimated to rise above 592 million by 2035. Type 2 diabetes affects one in 12 people and almost half of these are in pre-diabetic hidden state. The genetics, obesity, sedentary life, changing food habits and lifestyle are all important risk factors.

The Indian diabetes scene is dismal as more and more young people are getting the disease and the chronic complications rates are the highest in the world. The poor health seeking behaviour, denial mode and the multiplicity of irrational remedies further add to the complication rate. The early diagnosis helps to prevent the deadly complications, thus ensuring healthier life and reasonable healthcare costs.

In the current epidemic like scenario, often the question is asked, ‘Am I at risk too?’ We all are, and we need to calculate our risks and how prone we are. A blood sugar test, glucose tolerance test or an HbA1c test is a sure way to diagnose diabetes, but one can assess the risk of developing diabetes by the following simple personal checks and measurements.

1) Body Weight: Being overweight puts an individual at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. To calculate the ideal body weight, just use this formula

Ideal body weight = Height in centimetres – 100 cm (for males)

Ideal body weight = Height in centimetres – 105 cm (for females)

2) BMI (Body mass Index): BMI = weight in kg/height in m2, a healthy BMI into a healthy range is important to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases and diabetes. Since even non obese Indians are predisposed to diabetes, the suggested cut offs for BMI is 22.9 kg/m in Asian Indians as against 25 kg/m in Caucasians. Many BMI calculators are available for online and offline use.


3) Body fat around the waist: Central obesity is a common culprit of lifestyle diseases. One is more predisposed to lifestyle diseases if your waistline is more than 35 inches/90cm in males and 32 inches/80 cm in case of female. Since an individual cannot change his/her height, s/he should take special care to keep the weight and in particular abdominal girth in the healthy range.

4) The waist-to-height ratio: WHtR gives a more accurate assessment of health since the most dangerous place to carry weight is in the abdomen. Fat in the abdomen, which is associated with a larger waist, is metabolically active and produces various hormones that can cause harmful effects, such as diabetes and other metabolic disorders.


If you find any abnormality in these measure tape parameters then you must go for a blood sugar, GTT or an HbA1c test for detection and confirmation of Diabetes.
Government of India has recently launched the National Programme on Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases and Stroke (NPDCS) in 2008 and plans to extend it throughout India for such help at all Primary health facilities.
You may also refer to following web pages for various diabetes risk calculators.

JK1Dr J.K. Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self healing powers of human organism.
You can follow him at  https://twitter.com/drjkbhutani