Large metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi NCR (national capital region) have seen the highest number of health insurance claims related to diabetes, where diabetes is said to have affected over 10 crore people. This data was recently published in a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), unveiled on the occasion of World Health Day on 7th April.
The last census pegged India’s population at about 131 crores. The WHO survey revealed that 7.8% of the Indian population is diabetic, and that this silent killer has claimed more than 2 lakh lives sofar.
According to Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia, by 2030 diabetes will become the seventh largest killer in the world. She said that diabetes is not a disease which tends to make headlines, but unless all stake holders like the government, special interest groups, communities and individual people put in their focused and intense efforts, this disease will grow unchecked
The popular belief about diabetes is that it is a lifestyle disease, which only affects the age group above 60 years and also is confined to the urban affluent. Diabetes is a condition where there is excessive sugar in the body which it is unable to break down. This happens when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the chemical which breaks down sugar, or when the body is not able to effectively use the insulin. This condition can happen to anyone anywhere.
In addition to the data reported by the WHO in its survey, there is considerable data collated from health insurance companies that show a marked increase in claims related to diabetes. Another surprising and worrying point that has come up is that a significant percentage of these claims have been made by people in the age group of 25 years and below.
Some of the serious fallouts of diabetes are conditions like hyperglycemia, where patients need to have expensive surgeries like retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nephropathy and diabetic foot treatment.
This data was further supported by a separate report from ICICI Lombard. Here too, the alarming fact of more and more people in the under 25 age group claiming health cover on diabetes related ailments was in sharp focus. Between the period of 2011-2015 ICICI Lombard received 7,915 claims across age groups. Year on year data for claims processed by the insurance company states that 4,140 senior citizens have made diabetes related claims since 2011 while claims from the under 25 group remained at 235. The same numbers for people in the age group of 26-45 and 46-60 stood at 1,564 and 3,433, respectively, it said.