KARACHI: November 14 marks World Diabetes Day which is observed all over the world, including Pakistan, to increase awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications among the general population and preventative measures.
Every year three million people die from diabetes-related causes, and the burden is particularly harsh in low and middle-income countries like Pakistan, where diabetes is rising by 180 percent every year.
At present, every 19 seconds a limb is lost somewhere in the world due to a diabetes-related complication, whereas every six seconds a person dies due to diabetes-related complications. At the same time, two new persons develop diabetes.
Medical experts have underlined the need for widespread screening of diabetes to check the growing incidence of this metabolic disorder.
Diabetes can be prevented by adopting healthy dietary habits and regular physical activity. Experts say that several lifestyle factors are responsible for the growing incidences of diabetes type II among the public. Lack of education, ignorance, growing urbanization, processed foods and lack of exercise contribute to the disease. One effective way to reduce the risk of diabetes is to target each of these factors and make positive lifestyle changes. According to experts, undiagnosed diabetes has now become a global public health issue, leading to serious health outcomes.
Meanwhile, Chairman Department of Medicine at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Professor Dr. Jamal Zafar cited a prevalence survey conducted by him and his team in Rawalpindi that was published in the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association in August. The survey revealed that “every third patient presented in the Medical OPD of PIMS suffers from Diabetes Mellitus and its related complications.”
Dr. Jamal Zafar said the diabetic foot clinic of PIMS is providing services to 30 to 40 patients per day in the form of dressings and other treatments to prevent amputation. Despite this effort, the amputation rate in the country is 10 percent.
“We need to create awareness in the public to prevent the development of diabetes mellitus and if it develops, it is needed to be managed properly to prevent complications,” he said.