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TheNFAPost Podcast
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Chennai, NFAPost: Practo witnessed a substantial increase of 1200% in the number of diabetes queries since last year. This follows a growing wave of people seeking medical help for diabetes, especially after the disease came under the spotlight since the COVID-19 outbreak, said Practo.

While metro cities witnessed 5x growth in diabetes-related queries in the last one year, the number stood at a staggering 20x growth in non-metro cities for the same time period.  

Amid an ongoing pandemic, various studies have revealed that people with diabetic conditions are at a higher risk of severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19. In fact, 80% of all diabetes-related queries on Practo in the last one year came between March and October, indicating growing awareness of diabetes and its complications after the onset of the pandemic.

Some of the most discussed queries include ‘Impact of COVID-19 on diabetic patients’ and ‘Gestational diabetes among pregnant women’, given the lack of clarity on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy.

Furthermore, the queries were from people across age groups, including those above the age of 60. This is an aberration, since typically young Indians are known to lead the charter on searching and consulting doctors online.

According to the Practo Health Insights (Nov 2019 – Oct 2020),

  • Online consultation witnessed a 1200% increase from last year in the number of queries for diabetes as compared to 300% the year before
  • 72% of all diabetes-related consults came from men 
  • Amongst women, 40% of the consults were from the age group of 21 – 30 followed by women in the age group of 31-40 (27%) and those aged 60 & above(22%). The most discussed query among women was on gestational diabetes
  • 70% of all diabetes-related queries came from metro cities, recording a growth of 20x since last year
  • 30% of the queries were from non-metro cities, which grew 5x since last year
  • Most of the queries were from Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata 
  • In non-metro cities, most of the queries came from Lucknow, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur and Secunderabad 
  • Top searches include diabetes symptoms and causes, diabetes management, treatment for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, storage and usage of Insulin, gestational diabetes, and the impact of COVID-19 on diabetic patients
  • Around 16% of all diagnostic tests conducted on Practo were for diabetes

Practo Chief Healthcare Strategy Officer Dr. Alexander Kuruvilla said, “Proactiveness, awareness and empowerment are key factors in diabetes care. Patients, in addition to taking calls on their diet, exercise schedules, insulin doses and other lifestyle changes, also need to be in control over their doctor appointments, routine tests and monitoring.”

“Digital healthcare has made it easier and more manageable than ever before for patients to be in control. Patients are now empowered to consult doctors, book tests, order medicines, ask doubts/queries seamlessly, at the click of a button. The growth reflects a growth in awareness too, and that’s a key step towards overall health and well-being,” he added.

Manipal Hospital consultant endocrinologist Dr. Arpandev Bhattacharyya said, “Diabetes is a health concern which requires constant attention at regular intervals. It is important for people to consult specialists online and plan timely check-ups to ensure that it is kept under control.”

With one in 11 adults in India living with diabetes, the country is next only to China (17%) in having the largest share of people with diabetic conditions. The ninth edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas has estimated that nearly 134 million Indians will be diabetic in the next 25 years. 

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