Early screening is essential for diabetes prevention
News 2012
​Early screening is essential for diabetes prevention

November 11, 2012

“Diabetes screening is absolutely essential for prevention,” said Dr Jaweed Akhter, Section Head of Endocrinology at Aga Khan University. He was commenting on the escalating rates of diabetes around the world at an event marking World Diabetes Day held today at Aga Khan University.

This week World Diabetes Day is being commemorated throughout the country with this year’s global theme of ‘Diabetes Prevention and Education’ aimed at educating, engaging and empowering youth to spread awareness. The need to screen is important as the majority of the population is unaware that they have the disease and only get concerned when they develop a complication. This is often too late to reverse. Adopting a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining normal body weight can prevent type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. All efforts need to be made to educate people in identifying the disease early enough to fight it more effectively.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 80 per cent of diabetes related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Karachi is no exception to the prevalence of diabetes. With limited facilities available for the public to exercise and poor dietary patterns of the population, only an explosion of the problem can be foreseen. Out of a total of 1200 adults in Kharadar, Garden, Dehli Mercantile Society and Abid Town in Karachi screened by an oral glucose tolerance test conducted by investigators at the Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, Finland, 13.4 per cent were suffering from diabetes. An additional 32 per cent showed signs of pre-diabetes. Principle investigators, Drs Asma Ahmed and Jaweed Akhter suggested that, “We need to engage the public and the policy makers of the country to take a serious view of the situation as the disease affects all classes of the society.”

The results were revealed as part of an on-going three year study which will screen over 4000 adults and then determine if lifestyle intervention through diet and exercise could prevent diabetes in those who have pre-diabetes. The results from the study will form the basis of recommendations that the International Diabetes Federation intends to make on the issue of preventing diabetes in large urban areas in the developing world.

Health stalls offering free blood glucose testing were also set-up during the event as part spreading awareness.

Media contact:

Fabeha Pervez, Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2925 or fabeha.pervez@aku.edu