Difference in prevalence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy among low-altitude dwellers vs. high-altitude dwellers in North India

  • Anil Kumar Verma
  • Deepak Sharma
  • Lalit Gupta
  • Dinesh Kumar
  • Gaurav Sharma
  • Ashoo Grover
Keywords: diabetes mellitus, diabetic retinopathy, high landers and low landers, retinopathy


Background: Type-2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the leading lifestyle-related chronic disease as its prevalence is expected to rise up to 24.0% in the world by 2025, which was only 6.3% in year 2003.

Objective: To understand the high-altitude and low-altitude differentials for DM and diabetic retinopathy (DR) prevalence in a sub-Himalayan state of North India.

Methods: The study was carried out in the Shahpur block of Kangra district (altitude 2,404 feet) and the Spiti block of Lahaul and Spiti district (altitude 12,500 feet) of Himachal Pradesh.

Results: Among diabetics, the prevalence of DR was observed to be high (18.1%) in low landers and low (5.0%) in high landers. DM was more of a problem among low landers with a prevalence of 12.3% when compared to high landers (7.2%). Overall, the odd ratio of DR was twice as high (2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1-2.3) among patients with an unsatisfactory level of HbA1c (>8.0%) adjusted for gender, age group, smoking status and hypertension.

Conclusion: Differential did exist, as DM and DR were significantly lower in high-altitude areas when compared to low-altitude areas.



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How to Cite
Chauhan, A., Verma, A., Sharma, D., Gupta, L., Kumar, D., Sharma, G., & Grover, A. (2020). Difference in prevalence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy among low-altitude dwellers vs. high-altitude dwellers in North India. Asian Journal of Ophthalmology, 17(1), 19-29. https://doi.org/10.35119/asjoo.v17i1.441