Of the top 10 countries in the world with people suffering from diabetes, Pakistan ranks seventh, and by the year 2030, it will rank fourth – unless action is taken to implement effective public health programmes, said experts on World Diabetes Day at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).
Around 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases – which appear mostly in people over the age of 40 – are preventable and awareness can help reduce risks. People at high risk can self-screen or be identified through an assessment of risk factors such as age, obesity (through their waist circumference), family history, cardiovascular history and any previously identified glucose intolerance; high blood pressure and high cholesterol are other risk factors. Dr Qamar Masood, Consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, AKUH, emphasised that people with a healthy lifestyle who maintain the right weight, make smart food choices and exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes can prevent the onset of diabetes.
If you think you are at risk of type 2 diabetes, get tested, was the message delivered by Tahira Akberali, Diabetes Education Nurse, AKUH. Once diagnosed, a diabetes health care professional can help you take care of yourself and provide guidance on how to lead a healthy, complication-free life. Ms Akberali further stressed that diabetics should take an HbA1C test three to four times a year. The test is one of the best ways of checking whether diabetes is under control as it reveals a person’s average blood sugar in the last two to three months.
Dr Abdul Jabbar, Consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, AKUH, highlighted a number of ways to control diabetes. Making sensible food choices, being active, monitoring blood sugar levels regularly and taking medicine when needed are crucial. If blood sugar levels continue to remain high, consulting a doctor is advised.
A good diet can help a person keep their diabetes in control. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat is essential. Sumaira Nasim, Clinical Nutritionist, AKUH said patients should eat a balanced and nutritious diet, which must include starches, fruits, vegetables and lots of water. A diabetic should also control the amount of fats and sweets they eat to keep their blood glucose levels within limits.
Control your diabetes before it controls you was the key message of the event.
Rida Turabi, Senior Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org