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Islamabad

November 14, 2017

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Diabetes kills 100,000 people annually in Pakistan

Diabetes kills 100,000 people annually in Pakistan

Rawalpindi :A tremendous increase in rates of diabetes prevalence and incidence has been witnessed in Pakistan in last few years and according to estimates, the health problem claims not less than 100,000 lives annually of which majority are women.

Currently over 199 million women are living with diabetes and this total is expected to rise up to 313 million by 2040.

Diabetes is the ninth cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes (GDM). Many women with GDM experience pregnancy related complications including high blood pressure, low birth weight babies and obstructed labour.

The reasons behind sharp increase in number of cases of the disease in Pakistan are absence of effective health policy, non-existence of a National Programme for Diabetes Control, absence of national diabetes registry, modern lifestyles, use of unbalanced and unhealthy diet, increasing trend of consumption of junk and fast food, soft drinks, smoking, overweight, obesity, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle, stress and depression, changing sleeping patterns especially among young and lack of periodic check up of blood sugar level.

Obesity tops the list. Both short (less than 6 hour) and long (greater than 9 hour) sleep durations may be considered as a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Head of Community Medicine at CMH Lahore Medical College Professor Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Monday in connection with World Diabetes Day being observed on November 14 around the globe.

Diabetes awareness month is held every November and World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 every year. “Women and diabetes: our right to healthy future” is the theme for World Diabetes Day 2017. The WDD campaign will promote the importance of affordable and equitable access for all women with diabetes or at risk to the essential diabetes medicines and technologies, self-management education and information they require to achieve optimal diabetes outcomes and strengthen their capacity to prevent diabetes.

According to Dr. Ashraf, diabetes is difficult. Managing your diabetes in order to live a long and healthy life involves looking closely at your lifestyle and making changes if needed. Making healthy food choices and staying physically active is the cornerstone of managing diabetes, he said.

He explained that healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type-2 diabetes. He added that people should give attention to avoid obesity, a key risk factor for type-2 diabetes in young people which is rising in Pakistan, especially in the cities and towns.

Pakistan ranks 7th among the top 10 countries with the highest number of people living with diabetes. The diabetes prevalence rate in Pakistan is 12 percent, which is expected to rise up to 30 per cent by 2025 and then Pakistan will rank 5th in the world.

Diabetes is huge and growing burden as 422 million adults are living with diabetes worldwide and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040. One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. Many people live with diabetes for a long period of time without being aware of their condition, said Dr. Ashraf.

He said the age of onset of diabetes in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world. With increasing levels of poor nutrition and physical inactivity among children, type 2 diabetes in childhood has the potential to become public health issue leading to serious outcomes, he said.

Diabetes is a chronic; potentially debilitating disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces.

Dr. Ashraf said diabetes has lots of complications. Diabetes not only weakens the patient but it can also lead to other serious ailments such as high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases (heart attack, total kidney failure and the need for dialysis or kidney transplant), stroke, gum infections and blindness and damage nerves which can ultimately lead to ulceration and amputation of the toes, feet and lower legs. Diabetes causes one million amputations a year globally, he said.

To a query, he said principal warning signs are frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet, blurred vision, frequent infections and slow healing of wounds. Diabetes can affect anyone. If left untreated, it is deadly, he said.

He added it is necessary for diabetics to remain in regular contact with their doctor, regularly take the medicines, monitor their blood glucose regularly, brush teeth twice a day, schedule dental exams at least twice a year, strictly follow their diet regimen and take help of diabetes chart, adjust their eating habits, control their blood pressure, stop smoking, exercise regularly and take good sleep at least eight hours a day.

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