Prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its complications in India and economic costs to the nation

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Diabetes, a major lifestyle disorder, has become a global burden, and the prevalence rates are rising steeply in developing economies. Rapid socioeconomic transition with urbanization and industrialization are the main causes for the global diabetes epidemic. Among developing economies, the highest increase in number of people with diabetes is in China followed by India. In India, the epidemic of diabetes continue to increase and is experiencing a shift in diabetes prevalence from urban to rural areas, the affluent to the less privileged and from older to younger people. Diabetes is a progressive disorder leading to complications, which are broadly divided into small vessel or microvascular disease and large vessel or macrovascular disease. Microvascular complications affect the inner part of the eye—the retina known as diabetic retinopathy, the kidney termed as diabetic nephropathy and the peripheral nerves termed as diabetic neuropathy. The macrovascular complications affect the heart, the brain and the peripheral arteries termed as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease, respectively. Given the lifelong expenditure associated with diabetes and its complications, individuals, families and the society are unable to cope with the economic, emotional and social disease burden due to diabetes. The economic burden of diabetes can be reduced by providing universal healthcare coverage, access to affordable medicines and early detection and treatment of the disorder. This emphasizes the need for a multi-prolonged strategy to minimize the burden of diabetes and its complications.

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