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Diabetes 2nd main cause of death in Mumbai now: Report

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ET Health
18th September, 2019 07:37 IST
Mumbai: Diabetes is no longer a silent killer as it contributed to over 11% of deaths in the city in 2017, claimed NGO Praja Foundation on Tuesday. After heart ailments that continue to be the number one killer, diabetes has climbed the charts to grab the second position, causing 26 deaths every day, it said.

Presenting a white paper on the city’s health status, Praja said heart diseases were responsible for 14,115 or 16% of the 88,837 deaths in the city in 2017 while diabetes had killed 9,525 or 11%. The data gathered by the non-profit using RTI from the civic database as well as death registrations showed that tuberculosis claimed 5,449 or 6% lives, which was a near 20% drop from 2016. Diseases such as malaria, dengue and influenza H1N1 did not feature high on the list.

“Among heart diseases, heart attacks led to 9% of deaths and ischemic heart diseases caused the rest. It means that diabetes, which was responsible for more deaths than heart attacks, is affecting Mumbaikars in a big way,” said Milind Mhaske from Praja. The NGO’s claim has triggered a debate with several from the medical fraternity saying that diabetes is an underlying condition and cannot be called a direct cause of death.

“Diabetes is a risk factor for stroke, coronary artery disease, kidney diseases, infections, peripheral vascular disease and hypoglycaemia. It may be responsible for complications, but one can’t directly die of diabetes,” said Dr Dev Pahlajani, former president of the Cardiological Society of India.

He, though, questioned the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases. “Coronary artery diseases contribute to 25-30% deaths all over the world. It’s likely that those deaths have got clubbed under diabetes or hypertension,” he said.

Diabetologist Dr Rajiv Kovil, though, said he was glad there was finally good data to show that diabetes can be a killer. “Almost 60% diabetics die of coronary artery disease. Long-standing diabetes is now considered an equivalent of coronary heart disease risk factor,” he said, adding that diabetes treatment world over has also undergone a paradigm shift. “We no longer only treat sugar levels. In fact, prevention and treatment of diabetes is also aimed to prevent a cardiovascular event now,” he said.

The BMC, meanwhile, has contested the 5,449 TB deaths and claimed as per their records there were 803 fatalities. While Praja members questioned the discrepancy, a BMC official said the TB cell data is reflective of the deaths of registered TB patients. “Important thing is there has been a decline in TB deaths by 30-40% no matter which data set one refers to,” the officer said.
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