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Pakistan has highest number of people living with diabetes after China, India: IDF

November 14, 2021

LAHORE: According to the latest figures released by International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Pakistan now has the highest number of people living with diabetes in the world, after China and India. More than a quarter of adults living with diabetes in Pakistan are undiagnosed.

Expressing serious concern over the rising number of diabetics in the country, Pakistan Endocrine Society (PES) former President Dr Saeed A Mahar said, “We have left even the US behind, ranking now at number 3.”

He said this at a ceremony held under the auspices of a multinational pharmaceutical company to mark 100 years of insulin discovery with distinguished health experts of the country here on Saturday. The company is one of the official partners of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for this year’s World Diabetes Campaign.

International Society of Endocrinology (ISE) executive committee member (2018 – 2022), Dr Abbas Raza spoke about the barriers physicians faced when initiating insulin therapy, terming insulin distress or insulin hesitancy as a real challenge in diabetes management in the country. “This is an opportune time to highlight the benefits of insulin therapy for those who cannot achieve good diabetes control on oral medicines”, he stated.

PES Executive Member Dr Faisal Qureshi said that despite the availability of insulin, its use was still not optimum, and that there was a need to increase knowledge amongst physicians and patients to use this treatment before complications set in.

Salman Shamim, head of a diabetes franchise of a multinational pharmaceutical company, said, “In 1923, our pharmaceutical company was the first to produce insulin commercially and activate its power to save and improve lives.”

wake-up call for the new generation: Post Graduate Medical Institute Principal Prof. Dr. Sardar Al-freed Zafar has termed the rising number of diabetic patients in Pakistan as a wake-up call for the new generation and said that blood sugar patients in the country as well as around the globe are increasing day by day. He added that there is an urgent need to take effective measures for awareness on this disease and to especially protect the young generation from diseases like diabetes and there is also a need for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals for essential information about diabetes and special articles on patient care should be included in the curriculum.

He expressed these views while giving a lecture to the patients coming to the Diabetes Clinic of Lahore General Hospital. Prof. of Medicine and sugar specialist Dr. Tahir Siddiq, Dr.Maryam Khalid, Dr. Maqsood, Dr. Salman Shakeel and Dr. Azhar Awan were also present on this occasion.

They said that the main causes of diabetes include obesity, unhealthy lifestyle, and prevalence of diabetes in the family, unbalanced diet, blood pressure, blood fat imbalance and advancing age. The basic principles of hygiene must be ensured, he stressed. Medical experts said that according to the World Health Organization, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. He said that along with older men and women in Pakistan now youngsters and children are also suffering from this disease that have to use medicines to protect their lives at all ages while this life also suffers from various abnormalities.

Talking to the media, Prof. Al-freed Zafar and Prof. Tahir Siddiq said that the invention of computer has revolutionized the world and developed rapidly but at the same time people's lives have come to a standstill due to lack of physical exertion. Due to weight gain and increasing consumption of fast food, a large number of people in the world today suffer from diabetes, which is also called the mother of dozens of diseases, they added.

Principal PGMI further said that in order to control diabetes we need to focus on practical measures instead of verbal accusations and people need to make changes in their lives and citizens should focus on their activities, physical exercise in life and walk. It is important to take time for a walk, avoid "junk food" and adopt low-fat habits to protect the body from unwanted calories and fats to prevent obesity, weight gain and diabetes. He said that as far as treatment in the hospital is concerned, all the hospitals are providing facilities for diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. There is also a need for information and training in order to effectively treat patients with diabetes.

Prof. Tahir Siddiq said that now not only property inherited but diabetes also transforms to the next generation. He suggested that to avoid this disease, home kitchens have to be set up to prevent type 2 diabetes from turning into a dangerous disease in which the patient's hands and feet become infected and gangrene including which sometimes the patient has to lose his limbs. Diabetes has bad effects on the eyes, one of the causes of blindness is diabetes, he added. Prof. Tahir said that millions of patients are unaware of this disease so blood screening should be done twice a year so that timely diagnosis can be made. He further added that senior doctors are present in LGH from Monday to Saturday for medical examination of diabetic patients and all records are kept computerised.

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