Aim: To investigate the relationship between diabetes control, management and late complications in a subset of urban Indian diabetes population treated at tertiary diabetes care centres and measure the quality of management to set benchmarks for future improvement.
Methodology: The study population consisted of 100 consecutive review patients treated for more than one year at each of the 26 participating centres. HbA1c was estimated centrally by Bio-Rad Variant method. The methods used to diagnose diabetic complications varied among centres, depending on the doctor's standard clinical examination. A more detailed methodology was eschewed for reason of brevity of the data collection form, and lack of standardisation of methods. Similarly, the assessment of renal function was performed via a variety of methods, namely dipstick proteinuria, a 24 hour urinary excretion assay, presence of microalbuminuria and serum creatiine concentration; retinopathy was detected using fundoscopy. Data was collected in a standardized data collection form, entered into an SAS database, validated and descriptive analysis performed.
Results: A total of 2,269 subjects with valid relevant data formed the study population. Subjects had a mean age of 53.3 +/- 13 years. The mean age at onset of diabetes was 43.6 +/- 12.2 years, with a mean diabetes duration of 10.0 +/- 6.9 years. Type 2 diabetics constituted 90.6% of the patients. Approximately half the patients had poor control (HbA1c > 2% points above upper limit of normal and FBG > 139 mg/dl). Mean HbA1c (central laboratory) was 8.9 +/- 2.1% and FBG 150 +/- 59 mg/dl. Over 54% patients had severe late complications, apart from a high frequency of associated hyperlipidemia. Mean HbA1c level and frequency of complications was higher in patients with longer diabetes duration. Frequency of self-monitoring was low. Only 4% of patients were on diet therapy, 53.9% were receiving oral hypoglycemic agents (OHAs), 22% were receiving insulin and 19.8% a combination of insulin and OHAs. Frequency of insulin usage was higher amongst patients with longer diabetes duration.
Conclusions: This large multi-centre collaborative observational study shows that type 2 diabetes begins at an early age amongst Indians. With increasing duration of diabetes, glycemic control deteriorates leading to late complications. Diabetes care in India leaves much to be desired. Concerted efforts to increase awareness amongst health professionals to improve diabetes care are urgently needed. The study by increasing awareness about the current status of diabetes care provides a useful benchmark to plan future improvements.