Already considered the diabetes capital of the world, India now appears headed towards gaining another dubious distinction — of becoming the lifestyle-related disease capital as well. A study conducted jointly by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Max Hospital shows the incidence of hypertension, obesity and heart disease is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in the young, urban population.
Dr. Simmi Manocha of Fortis Hospital in Faridabad says one in five patients coming to the hospital’s out patients department suffers from obesity. “Last week, I did an angioplasty on a patient who was 27 years old. This wasn’t something we saw in such young patients just 10 years back,” she adds. Dr. Susham Sharma of Max Hospital says he now comes across Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes among school children in Delhi.
This rise in lifestyle diseases spans various socio-economic segments in the cities. “In the lower economic segment, smoking is very common, so there are more tobacco-related diseases. Among those who are better off, we are seeing more cases of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension”, says Dr. Sharma.
Doctors however say a strict diet and regular exercise along with cholesterol controlling drugs can go a long way in checking lifestyle diseases. Growing public awareness, with the support of the government and corporate wellness programmes may help arrest the rapid increase in the incidence of such diseases, saving lives and crores of rupees in costs.