New Delhi, Sept. 19: For Indians across the world, the risk of diabetes might lie in their answers to four questions ' and a single measurement.
A four-question written test developed by doctors in India will make inexpensive mass screening for diabetes possible.
The Indian Diabetes Risk Score test will help undiagnosed patients become aware of their diabetes and allow people to consciously lower their risk score through diet and exercise.
India already has more than 32 million people with diabetes and several studies have indicated that the prevalence of illness in the metros ranges from 12 to 15 per cent.
Studies also indicate that six out of 10 people with diabetes in India remain unaware of their illness. Uncontrolled and untreated diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and foot problems.
“We need massive screening programmes, but screening based on blood tests would be too expensive. The risk score test will allow individuals to calculate their own diabetes risk within minutes,” said Dr V. Mohan, director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, who developed the test after analysing data from 26,000 people living in and around Chennai over the past two years.
The test questions cover age, family history of diabetes, exercise, and occupational activity. Individuals would also have to fill in their sex, and take a waist measurement around their navels.
About 70 per cent of those with scores higher than 60 could be diagnosed with diabetes. People with 60 or higher scores could then take confirmatory blood tests.
While diabetes risk tests have been developed in the past in the US, the UK and Finland, Mohan said, a test specially designed for Indians was required. Indians have a greater degree of insulin resistance than Europeans or Americans.
“The advantage of this test is its simplicity and low cost,” said Dr Shashank Joshi of the department of endocrinology at King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.
It will be useful in mass screening programmes.