Diabetes in the South Asian community

People from South Asian communities such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka are six times more likely to develop diabetes than people from other backgrounds.

Causes of diabetes in these communities

It’s not entirely known why South Asian people are at higher risk, but factors such as diet, not doing enough exercise, being overweight and genetic makeup are all thought to play a role.

People from South Asian communities also appear to put weight on around their middles, which is known as central obesity. This can put stress on the part of the body that produces insulin meaning it isn’t able to work properly.

Diabetes and the eye

As well as being more at risk of developing diabetes, South Asian people who are already diabetic are at higher risk of developing diabetic complications of the eye – called diabetic retinopathy. This can seriously affect your sight.

You can read or listen about how diabetes can affect your eyes in other languages such as Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi from our eye condition information in other languages page.

Reducing your risk

If you’re from a South Asian community it’s important that you and your family know about the higher risk of developing diabetes, the sight loss it can cause, and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of losing your sight.

Whether you have diabetes or not, there are things you can do to either reduce your risk of developing diabetes or of getting complications if you are already diabetic.

In our video, Ibrar talks about how he made changes to his diet after being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy: