Over the past three years, the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) has conducted screenings covering 10 lakh individuals, revealing a concerning trend. Out of this population, 1.2 lakh people have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to officials from the Directorate.
According to media reports, breaking down the recent data, an official reported that during the 2021-22 period, 317,400 individuals underwent screening, with 35,231 individuals being identified as diabetic.
Moving into 2022-23, the screenings increased to 426,649 people, revealing 50,397 new cases of diabetes.
As of October in the current year (2023-24), 257,266 patients have been screened, and 31,566 have been diagnosed with diabetes, the official said.
Since 2021, the DHSK has screened a cumulative total of 1,001,315 people for non-communicable diseases, uncovering 117,194 cases of diabetes.
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Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Director of Health Services Kashmir, noted that the prevalence of diabetes is rising in Kashmir, mirroring global trends. He attributed this surge to various factors, including insufficient physical activity and other lifestyle changes.
Stressing the importance of adopting a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and avoiding unhealthy foods to mitigate the diabetes epidemic, Dr Mushtaq said that in response to the growing concern, DHSK has initiated screening and awareness camps aimed at detecting diabetes cases in their early stages, emphasising that early detection is crucial for effective treatment.
Underscoring the need for heightened awareness regarding the early detection of diabetes, spokesperson for DHSK, Dr Mir Mushtaq, cautioned that delayed diagnosis could lead to complications such as nerve damage and peripheral arterial disease. He advised people to discard unhealthy dietary habits, embrace physical activity, and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
According to the National Family Health Survey, 8.35 per cent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir is affected by diabetes, a rate higher than in several other states in India. As per media reports, the survey also revealed a gender disparity, with 3.1 per cent of women exhibiting "very high" blood sugar levels, surpassing the 2.7 per cent observed in men.