Diabetes-Rise in incidence of Diabetes

Diabetes-Rise in incidence of Diabetes

Let us join hands to face the challenge


According to the estimates of the International Diabetes Federation, about 366 million people worldwide, or 8.3% of adults, were estimated to have Diabetes in 2011. About 80% of them live in low and middle-income countries. If these trends continue, by 2030, some 552 million people, or one adult in 10, will have Diabetes. This equates to approximately 3 new cases in every 10 seconds, or almost 10 million people per year. The largest increases will take place in the regions dominated by developing economics.

In 2011, the greatest number of people with Diabetes is in the 40 to 59 age group. More than three-quarters of the 179 million people with Diabetes in this age group live in low- and middle-income countries, which amounts to 86% people (www.idf.org)

In the year 2006 an aggressive campaign by health professionals won Diabetes recognition from the United Nation as a disease that is a serious threat to global health. This was long overdue because of the rising incidence of this metabolic disorder. The UN’s Landmark Resolution, 61/225, of Dec 20, 2006 recognizes Diabetes as “a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for families, countries and the entire world”. It designated Nov 14, the day of birth of Fredric Banting, the Canadian researcher who identified Insulin, as the UN day to be observed every year beginning in 2007. The World Diabetes Day was earlier introduced by the international Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization in 1991.

Thus Diabetes is the first non-communicable disease to receive a status similar to that accorded to Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Governments have been called upon to develop national policies for the prevention, care and treatment of Diabetes.

The World Diabetes Day designates a theme for five years and for 2009-2013 the theme is “Diabetes Education and Prevention”. The slogan for the campaign this year is “Diabetes: Protect our Future”.

The World Diabetes Day is a day to empower the people through education and understand the serious impact the disorder can have on health of the individual. It is a day to learn the various steps to prevent Diabetes and thus enjoy a good quality of life.

It is a call to the government to implement strategies and policies of prevention of Diabetes and effective management. This is necessary to maintain good health, avoid the chronic debilitating complications and provide a good quality of life for all citizens.

For health providers it plays a dual role – enhance education and provide efficient care to the people with Diabetes.

Diabetes— a challenge for South Asians

TYPE 2 Diabetes is seen as a major challenge for South Asians in the coming years. In 2011, prevalence of Diabetes in adults, from the Mediterranean countries to South East Asia was 8.3% to 9.1% with an equal gender distribution. It has been observed that TYPE 2 Diabetes presents ten years earlier in South Asians compared to Chinese, Japanese and the UK population. Diabetes has thus assumed epidemic proportions in this region. Studies have identified obesity as the most important risk factor for this rising incidence. The increase in fat is not just overall but also abdominal which is more important. This leads to insulin resistance or the inability of the body to utilize Insulin. It is also been observed that obesity is no longer the disease of the affluent class, but is now seen in increasing figures in the lower socioeconomic strata also. The reason is a change to an unhealthy lifestyle – a high calorie diet and minimal physical activity. Consuming dense calorie foods is the norm of the day; this can range from expensive items from fast food chains to road side bun-kababs soaked in butter. Paucity of space to exercise and the prevailing law and order situation in the country prevents people especially children from going out to parks for physical activity. The example of Karachi is apparent. A city with a population of 23.5 million people as of 2011, has only 78 listed public and four private parks, many of which are not properly maintained and under constant threat of encroachment by builders and developers. In smaller cities and rural areas, cultural constraints discourage women from walking in public places. Health awareness is low due to illiteracy which along with inflation promotes wrong eating habits.

Diabetes has to prevented with efforts coming in from all quarters. This includes the people, the health care providers and the government. The obesity epidemic which has entered Pakistan has to be curbed by efforts from all quarters.

The city government should plan more secure open areas of exercising. Awareness campaigns against obesity should be undertaken

Strict laws should be imposed on labeling packaged foods with listing of ingredients.

High caloric foods should have a warning similar to the one carried by cigarette packets.

Schools should have programmes for healthy eating.

Canteens should refrain from serving fast food

Advertising food and drinks on bill boards, TV screens and newspapers should be banned.

The responsibility of promoting a healthy life style should not be left just to the doctors and health care professionals but be shared by leaders of opinion as teachers, the clergy and NGOs who are in touch with people at the grassroots.

To protect the future of our people, all have to join hands to face the challenge and fight against obesity and eventually Diabetes.