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Karachi

November 14, 2017

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‘Sindh in the lead with 30.2 per cent diabetes prevalence’

‘Sindh in the lead with 30.2 per cent diabetes prevalence’

Sindh has the highest number of diabetics in Pakistan where the incidence of the lifestyle disease has reached as high as 30.2 per cent, said eminent diabetologist Prof Abdul Basit as he revealed in detail the damning data gathered in the National Diabetes Survey of Pakistan 2016-17.

“After Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan have the highest incidence of diabetes, 28.8 and 26.1 per cent respectively. Khyber Pakhunkhwa was found to have the lowest prevalence of the disease, 12.9 per cent, but it had the highest number of pre-diabetics, 15 per cent,” said Prof Basit, who was the head investigator for the national survey, during a presser held on Monday at the Karachi Press Club in connection with ‘World Diabetes Day’, which is being observed today.

For the survey, partial findings of which were disclosed in August this year, a total of 10,800 people over the age of 20 were tested in 46 districts and tehsils of Pakistan. 

The overall incidence of the disease in Pakistan stood at 26.3 per cent, while 14.4 per cent were found to be pre-diabetics. “A total of 26.3 per cent means that every fourth Pakistani is diabetic, while the 14.4 per cent are likely to develop the medical condition over the coming years,” said Prof Basit.

The research was carried out by the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology in collaboration with the health ministry and the World Health Organisation’s centre for diabetes in Pakistan.

“This is an alarming situation and is a reflection of the poor lifestyle standards being followed by Pakistanis.”  

‘52pc hypertensive’ 

Revealing other shocking details of the NDSP, he informed that the people included in the survey were tested as per the WHO’s guidelines to ascertain the rate of diabetes as well as related illnesses such as hypertension, obesity and cholesterol.

Quoting the survey’s statistics, Prof Basit stated that over 52 per cent of our population suffers from hypertension.

“As many as 25 per cent of the people surveyed knew that they had high blood pressure, whereas 27 per cent found out during our examination,” said the diabetologist.

‘Obesity on the rise’

More than 76.2 percent of Pakistanis were found to be overweight according to international standards as their Body Mass Index (height and weight ratio) was more than 23, said Prof Basit. 

Similarly, 62.1 percent of Pakistani men and women were found to be obese as they had a BMI level above 25, he added.  

High cholesterol  

As many as 93 percent people in Pakistan were found to have dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids) or high cholesterol, claimed Prof Basit. This shows that the majority has prioritised eating and living a sedentary lifestyle, remarked the diabetologist. Gaining weight is the major cause of diabetes and hypertension, he observed.

  ‘Increasing ratio of heart disease’

Director BIDE said diabetes and hypertension were the biggest causes of heart attacks, stroke, renal failure, blindness and amputations, and it is feared that millions of people would be dying of these diseases, while thousands would become handicapped in the coming years.

According to him, there was no national registry to record causes of deaths in Pakistan, whereas no survey has been conducted to ascertain the number of patients suffering from heart strokes, renal failures, blindness and amputations.   

‘Prevention only option’  

The diabetologist urged Pakistanis to change their style of living and eating, reduce their weight, eat less but healthy food and exercise daily to avoid diabetes or manage it.

“Diabetes and hypertension lead to deadly and painful health conditions, which are not only agonising for the patients but also affects their families and are a cause of a huge financial burden on them.”

He also advised mothers to breastfeed children to prevent them from developing diabetes in the future, and urged schools to engage children in sports and healthy activities.

He also called for a national diabetes policy and a health emergency to be announced by the government.

Co-investigator of the national survey, Dr Asher Fawwad, and coordinator NDSP, Dr Muhammad Zafar Abbasi, were also present on the occasion.

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