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November 14, 2015

Diabetes kills 90,000 patients every year in Pakistan

Islamabad

November 14, 2015

Rawalpindi
Pakistan has seen dramatic increase in rates of diabetes prevalence and incidence over recent years and the key risk factor for type-2 diabetes, obesity, in young people is rising concomitantly rapidly in Pakistan, especially in the cities and towns.
Approximately, diabetes kills 90,000 people annually in Pakistan of which majority are women. Studies reveal that 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 per cent, which is expected to rise up to 30 per cent by 2025 and then Pakistan will rank 5th in the world.
Also the age of onset of diabetes in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world and it is becoming a disease of young generation.
Head of Community Medicine at CMH Lahore Medical College Colonel (r) Professor Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Friday in connection with World Diabetes Day being observed on November 14 around the globe.
He said healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type-2 diabetes that makes up around 90 per cent of diabetes cases.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 formerly known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterised by hyperglycaemia, high blood sugar, in the context of insulin resistance or lack of insulin is different from diabetes type 1 in which there is absolute lack of insulin because of breakdown of islet cells in the pancreas.
Professor Ashraf believes that the reasons behind the rise in the disease in Pakistan are absence of effective health policy, non-existence of a National Program for Diabetes Control, absence of national diabetes registry, modern lifestyles, use of unbalanced and unhealthy diet, increasing trend of junk and fast food, soft drinks, smoking, overweight, obesity, physical inactivity, 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 six hours and long greater than nine hours sleep durations may be considered as a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes.”
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.
Diabetes has lots of complications. It 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.
Professor Ashraf said the principal warning signs of the disease 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.
Diabetes Awareness Month is held every November and World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 every year. Healthy living and Diabetes is the theme for 2014-2016 while theme for the day in 2015 is Act today to change tomorrow.
Professor Ashraf said 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 added it is necessary for diabetics to remain in regular contact with their doctors, 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. Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by 40 per cent, he said.
To a query, he said having healthy blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels greatly reduces the chance of getting complications of diabetes. It is good to have your blood glucose levels in the range. Other cost saving interventions include screening and treatment for retinopathy which cause blindness, blood lipid control to regulate cholesterol levels, and screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease, he said.
He suggested that diabetics should pay special attention to their feet by washing feet daily in lukewarm water, drying them gently, especially between the toes and moisturize with lotion. Doctor must be consulted immediately in case of sore or other foot problem that is not healing. Smoking will greatly increase your chances of developing the complications of diabetes like nerve damage and kidney disease. If you are male, smoking can increase your chance of becoming impotent. So if you have diabetes and you want to stay healthy, it is very important that you should stop smoking, said Professor Ashraf.
He added that in many people with diabetes, stress can cause their blood glucose levels to rise. Learning strategies to deal with stress can lessen this effect. Learning relaxation techniques to respond to stress, identifying situations that cause stress and choosing to avoid them, and making changes to your life that increase your enjoyment level would maintain blood glucose levels. Getting regular exercise, saying your prayers regularly and following religion are excellent ways to overcome stress and depression, concluded Professor Ashraf.