KARACHI: Eminent Diabetologist Prof Dr Abdul Basit on Wednesday said diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in Pakistan as according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) there are currently approx 7 million diabetic patients in Pakistan by 2040. Pakistan is projected to have 14.4 million diabetics and will rank 8th in the world.
He revealed these statistics during informative seminar, organized by Sanofi in collaboration with the Baqai Institute of Diabetes Endocrinology (BIDE) at Karachi Press Club.
Prof Dr Basit who is also an author of Guidelines on Diabetes Management during Ramadan shared guidance on the management of diabetes during the holy month of Ramadan.
He said understandably many people with diabetes are eager to fast during Ramadan and therefore they must consult with their doctor prior to the onset of Ramadan.
He said treating physicians would assess the ability of their patients to fast and advise accordingly.
He said patients must not place themselves at risk as the decision to fast or not should be based on medical advice.
He also emphasized that following a highly individualized management plan and close follow up is essential to avoid development of complications.
He said guidance is based on the New Guidelines on Diabetes Management during Ramadan launched in Dubai last month by the Diabetes Ramadan International Alliance (DAR).
He said these guidelines were the result of the combined expertise and efforts of international experts from multiple countries and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Sanofi.
He said Ramadan is one of the holiest periods in the Muslim calendar but fasting could adversely affect the health of a person who is unwell or suffers from a chronic condition such as diabetes.
He said Islam exempts sick patients from fasting but a significant number of Muslim patients would like to fast. With so many Muslims with diabetes wanting to fast, there was a dire need for internationally recognized guidelines for doctors to follow while advising their patients.
He said greater awareness on this topic in a holistic way will improve the lives of patients and make Ramadan a safer experience for people with diabetes.
He said patients do not always fully understand the implications of diabetes and the impact that fasting could have on their health as they do not seek timely medical advice.
Prof Basit said there is a need for patients to be aware of the risks, e. g. people often over-indulge in unhealthy food items, deep fried foods, carbohydrates, fatty foods and sugary drinks or abandon portion, control consuming large quantities at Iftar.
He said these behaviors can raise the risk of loss of blood glucose control, leading to complications.
Diabetes Ramadan International Alliance (DAR) was formed in January 2013 with the goal to raise awareness on managing diabetes during Ramadan. They work in collaboration with organizations such as International Diabetes Federation, Gulf Group for the Study of Diabetes, European Association Study for Diabetes and Diabetes Education Study Group.