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National

November 15, 2017

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Diabetes kills 2.1 million women every year

Diabetes kills 2.1 million women every year

Islamabad: Worldwide, diabetes is the 9th leading cause of death in women, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. As a result of socioeconomic conditions, girls and women with diabetes experience barriers in accessing cost-effective diabetes prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care, particularly in developing countries. Socioeconomic inequalities expose women to the main risk factors of diabetes, including poor diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco consumption and harmful use of alcohol.

Consultant gynaecologist at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Dr. Shahnaz Nawaz shared this piece of information while speaking at a seminar organized to mark World Diabetes Day here at SIH on Tuesday. Doctors, SIH officials, students, patients and people from all walks of life attended the seminar. Free consultancy, blood sugar screening, informative booklets and prizes were given to the

Dr. Shahnaz said, there are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes and this total is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040. Gender roles and power dynamics influence vulnerability to diabetes, affect access to health services and health-seeking behaviour for women, and amplify the impact of diabetes on women. Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide. Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes. Without pre-conception planning, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can result in a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity.

Dr. Shahnaz apprised the audience that 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes (GDM), a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health. Many women with GDM experience pregnancy related complications including high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labour. A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop type 2 diabetes resulting in further healthcare complications and costs, she added.

Consultant endocrinologist at SIH Dr. Sheraz Khan informed that in Pakistan, 7 million people have diabetes. In one year, 84,000 patients die of diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic 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. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that acts like a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia). Over the long term, high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.

Consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist at SIH Dr. Osama Ishtiaq said that 1 in 2 people with diabetes remain undiagnosed, which makes them particularly susceptible to complications of the condition, causing substantial disability and premature death. More than 640 million of people may be living with diabetes by 2040. Delayed diagnosis means that many people with type 2 diabetes will suffer from at least one complication by the time they are diagnosed with diabetes. In many countries, diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation. Balanced diet, regular exercise, weight control, regular medication and proper blood glucose level tests are a few essential factors that can help to control diabetes and avoid complications, he recommended.

  Clinical dietitian Zainab Ghayyur highlighted the importance of diet in treatment of diabetes. She underlined factors affecting diet of diabetic patients such as type of diabetes, complications, medications, blood sugar control, previous medical history, height, weight, age, gender, dietary history, eating patterns and habits, favorite foods, food allergies and physical activity. She emphasized the importance of including fibre in regular diet. She told that bran wheat, fruits and vegetables contain fibre that has virtually zero calories. Fiber is equally valuable for patients with cardiac diseases.

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