Prediabetes – a warning sign the body gives you before progressing to type 2 diabetes – is a condition that not many people know about. It is especially appalling considering that India is already the diabetes capital of the world with 80 million people diagnosed with diabetes. This number is expected to grow to 130 million by 2030 if something drastic is not done. India already has 90 Million people with prediabetes and given that 70% of them will convert into type 2 diabetes in the next 5-10 years, you can see where the math adds up.
Since Type 2 diabetes is a slow and progressive condition and doesn’t have any major symptoms in the initial few years, it usually goes undiagnosed for a long time. So, one can only expect the chances of a person being diagnosed with prediabetes to be even lesser.
Fitterfly Healthtech, leading Indian Digital Therapeutics company, pioneered the #FightPrediabetes campaign, in partnership with top doctors of India, Roche Diabetes, USV and Lal Path labs.
The campaign created awareness about prediabetes and reached over a million Indians via online events, social media, corporate reach, etc. It was kickstarted on 14th August – 90 days before the diabetes day – to draw attention to the prediabetes situation in India. As part of this, a nationwide study was conducted to assess the risk of prediabetes in Indian adults, the first-of-its-kind initiative in India. The test is an evidence-based, clinically-validated tool for assessing an individual’s risk of Pre-diabetes, following international protocols for prediabetes detection such as American Diabetes Association and Centers for Disease Control (USA).
Around 5000 people from top 10 cities of India took the test and people were asked questions about their health profile, family history of diabetes, other health conditions and lifestyle. The online survey generated an automated report and classified the people into various risk profiles for diabetes and prediabetes- low, moderate or high. Detailed reports and recommendations to prevent progression to diabetes were shared after the test with all participants.
The data was then studied using statistical analysis for the calculation of relative risk of prediabetes with factors like age, BMI, physical activity, family history of diabetes and the presence of high blood pressure.
Dr Arbinder Singal, CEO & Cofounder of Fitterfly said “, This is a first-of-its-kind study in India which highlights the high metabolic risks that people need to take seriously by using an online risk calculator made for the Indian population – www.fitterfly.com/prediabetes-risk-test. The keys are to lose weight and bring BMI under 23 and increase physical activity. I was also diagnosed to have prediabetes in 2019 and with a strong family history of diabetes, I was really worried. I used advanced technology built by Fitterfly to understand blood sugar response to various foods, making right food choices and getting a variety of physical activity to reverse my prediabetes. We would suggest that prediabetes is the right stage for us to work together at national level to fight the incoming tsunami of diabetes.”
Out of the people who completed the risk test, 74 % had BMI (≥ 23 Kg/m2) in the range of obese or overweight category, 59 % had a family history of diabetes and 44 % were not active as per the World Health Organiation recommendations of 150 mins of moderate physical activity per week.
Risk among younger population alarming
65.6% of people under 40 years of age had a moderate to high risk of prediabetes. Men were at 1.5 times higher risk compared to women.
In people with the age of 40 or above, 95.6 % had a moderate to high risk of prediabetes, with 97.9% men and 89.1 % female at an increased risk of prediabetes. Men were at 1.1 times higher risk than women in this age group.
“The data presented by Fitterfly is very much in line with what we see in our practice, even more so after the pandemic and lockdown. The data has surpassed previous projections and that’s really concerning. It’s time people under 40 take diabetes seriously too and lose the weight necessary to reduce their risk,” says Dr Sanjay Kalra, Past President Endocrine Society of India and Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies (SAFES).
Weight – the single most important risk factor that can be modified
Around 90% of people fell in the overweight or obese category as per their BMI (above >23).
They have a 1.8 times higher risk than people with a healthy BMI. The risk increases by 4.4 times if the person was overweight or obese and above 40 years of age. It shockingly increases by almost 40 times if the person has a family history of diabetes in addition to being over 40 and falls in the overweight or obese category. Hence, the rule of 40. If you are
- Above 40
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Have a BMI above 23
You have 40 times higher risk of diabetes/ prediabetes. You must do something about it.
Sustainable weight loss – the only key to reducing prediabetes risk
Risk factors like age, family history of diabetes are unfortunately, not modifiable. However, factors like weight and activity are completely in our control. According to our research, losing around 8 kg weight could potentially reduce your prediabetes risk from high to moderate and losing another 12 kg could potentially reduce the risk from moderate to low.
- High risk of prediabetes seen in study population
- People under the age of 40 were also seen at high risk
- People with family history of diabetes, age over 40 and BMI over 23 have a 40 times higher risk of diabetes and prediabetes and should undergo HbA1c test or Fasting blood sugar.
- Weight loss of 8-12 kg in at risk population will cut down the risk of diabetes by 50%