Chennai, Aug 2: Painting an alarming picture over the increasing number of cases of vascular diseases in the country, the Vascular Society of India (VSI) has decided to launch a nationwide awareness campaign on August 6.
Talking to newspersons here on Friday, August 1, VSI President-elect Dr N Sekar said India was the diabetic capital of the world with 40 million diabetics. It was expected to double to 80 million by 2020, he said and added that six to eight per cent of those afflicted were prone to peripheral vascular disease (arterial block). ''This is a huge number considering our population, as they face the risk of developing infection as well as loss of blood supply leading to gangrene,'' he added.
Dr Sekar said apart from diabetes, hypertension, high cholestrol, smoking and consumption of any form of tobacco, which was on the rise among youth, obesity, genetic, stress and lack of exercise were the important causes for development of vascular occlusion.
He said gangrene was 53 times more common in diabetic men and 71 times in diabetic women as 35 to 50 per cent of all lower limb amputations were on diabetic patients.
Quoting statistics, Dr Sekar said there were just 70 full time vascular surgeons in the country and another 200 general and cardiac surgeons do vascular surgery. ''There are no vascular surgeons in the Northeast, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, while Japan has more vascular surgeons than India.'' Though the Union Health Ministry has agreed to address this issue, the fact was that majority of the patients were neglected due to shortage of vascular surgeons and end up in amputations.
To create an awareness, the VSI would be organising a nationwide awareness programme, he added.
In Chennai city, the VSI would organise a Walkathon on the beach front tomorrow and conduct free vascular screening camps on August six at five hospitals in the city.
The awareness programme was also to spread the message on the need to set up exclusive vascular surgical departments in all medical colleges in the country, including in private institutions, to treat and educate people.