Consultant diabetologists, nutritionists and cardiologists on Wednesday urged people to modify their lifestyle by adopting a habit of daily exercise, eschewing excessive eating and maintaining a balanced diet, in order to prevent diabetes. They also advised diabetic patients to make changes in their lifestyle and regularly take prescribed medicines.
The health experts were speaking at a diabetes screening, diagnosis and consultation camp that was organised on World Diabetes Day on Wednesday by the health committee of the Karachi Press Club in collaboration with the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) Karachi, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and Pakistan Nutritionist and Dietetic Society (PNDS). The purpose of the camp was to create awareness about diabetes and ways for its prevention and management.
The experts lamented that more than 26 per cent of Pakistani population was suffering from diabetics while over 14 per cent were pre-diabetics, which meant that they were highly expected to be diabetic later in their lives.
Discussing the relationship between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the experts maintained that diabetic people had a high risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Those with diabetes were likely to die from cardiovascular diseases two to four times more than those who did not have it.
As many as 80 journalists were screened for diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI), of whom eight were diagnosed with diabetes. Around 20 per cent of the journalists examined at the medical camp were found hypertensive and with an elevated BMI. They were advised by the consultants to get themselves properly screened and bring changes in their lifestyle in order to manage their diseases.
Dr Zafar Abbassi from the BIDE said diabetes had become endemic in Pakistan and now every fourth Pakistani was a diabetic while millions were about to get afflicted with the disease due to their unhealthy lifestyle and genetic make-up.
“In these circumstances, Pakistani people are advised to eat less and walk more. As far as eating is concerned, they should eat a balanced diet with more fruits, vegetables and fibrous items, and concentrate on doing regular exercise which not only would prevent them from diabetes but would also help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” he added.
Consultant cardiologist from NICVD Dr. Fawad Farooq said as per the American Heart Association, diabetes is one of the seven controllable risk factors of the cardiovascular disease and if people prevented themselves from diabetes, they were less likely to die from heart attack compared to those who had diabetes.
According to Dr. Farooq, most of the diabetics had risk factors which made them more prone to having cardiovascular disease. He advised people to adopt simple lifestyle, exercise daily, avoid smoking and develop a habit of walking to remain healthy.
Nutritionist Fayza Khan said diet and diabetes were directly correlated as eating habits of people from their childhood often caused diabetes. She urged people to eat simple food consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid junk food and deep-fried items.
Nutritionists were of the opinion that people in Pakistan were not aware of hazards of their poor eating habits that were not only causing harm to their own health but were also resulting in problems for their children, causing various health issues, such as obesity and stunting, for them and making them prone to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at an early age.
Screening at NICVD
Separately, hundreds of people were screened for diabetes, cholesterol, uric acid and BMI at a free screening camp at the NICVD where consultants also educated them regarding prevention of diabetes and controlling it in case it has been diagnosed.
To mark World Diabetes Day, the NICVD also organised an awareness session which was attended by a large number of people who asked various questions about diabetes and its prevention, management and treatment.
Speaking at the session, NICVD Executive Director Prof. Nadeem Qamar said the institute was observing World Diabetes Day keeping in view its international theme for this year, which was ‘The Family and Diabetes’. According to him, the purpose of the day was to raise awareness about a medical condition, which millions of people all around the world were living with every day.
Prof. Qamar maintained that diet was a key factor for diabetics. It was very important for the diabetic patients to schedule and monitor their eating habits. The diabetics should monitor their blood sugar levels and visit their physicians regularly, he said, adding that exercise was also an important element in the management of diabetes.
Prof. Dr. Saeed Mahar, endocrinologist and diabetologist at the NICVD, explained that the 2018 theme of ‘The Family and Diabetes’ meant to create awareness about the impact which diabetes had on the families of patients and promote the role of the families in the management, care, prevention and education of patients of diabetes.
Dr. Mahar maintained that diabetes could be properly managed with proper medical care, good exercise and a healthy and balanced diet.
DUHS marks day
Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) also marked World Diabetes Day 2018 by holding a seminar and walk to raise awareness about the preventable and controllable disease. The event was attended by Sardar Yaseen Malik, Prof. Zarnaz Wahid, Prof. Akhtar Ali Baloch and others.