Introducing Myself To South Asian Indian Diabetes

Gadi Sagar temple on Gadisar Lake, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Gadi Sagar temple on Gadisar Lake, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

“Asian Indian” as opposed to American Indian, aka Native Americans.

Since I have a number of blog visitors from India, I decided I need to know more about Indian diabetes. I started by reading “The current sate of diabetes mellitus in India.” I looked at a few other things, too, thanks to the Internet. Here are a few facts and issues:

  • India has at least 32 million diabetics (most of whom have type 2 diabetes); it’s the country with the most diabetics (data from 2000)
  • The population of India is 1.28 billion
  • By 2030, diabetics in India may number 79 million
  • The prevalence of diabetes in urban centers is perhaps 9% of the population; higher in southern locales, lower in the north
  • Indians tend to see type 2 diabetes at much lower BMIs compared to Western populations
  • India is rife with diversity: genetic, cultural, linguistic, socio-economic, among others
  • Poverty—or at least lack of affluence—is a major stumbling block to diagnosis, treatment, epidemiologic study, clinical research, and intervention
  • Vegetarianism is more common than in the West
  • I need to learn more about Indian cuisine and foods such as jowar, chappathis, and chana dal (aka Bengal gram dhal), to name just a few
Indian woman cooking chapati

Indian woman cooking chapati

It’s clear to me that I cannot assume that Indian type 2 diabetes is the same type 2 disease I treat here in Scottsdale, Arizona, an overwhelmingly non-Indian population.  If it’s not the same disease, the optimal treatment may be different. I hope to learn more about Indian diabetes over the next year.

Steve Parker, M.D.


Filed under India

2 responses to “Introducing Myself To South Asian Indian Diabetes

  1. Cathy

    You should definitely check out the book and the blog by Dr. Ronesh Sinha. He treats South west Asians in Silicon Valley and his wife is a pediatrician. His blog is SouthAsianHealthSolution and his blog is the same name. You and he should have a lot in common.