LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Diabetes Day was observed across the country including Lahore yesterday to raise awareness about diabetes, timely diagnoses and precautions to avoid complications.

The day aims at increasing awareness amongst general population and professionals about effects of diabetes and its complications. It is hoped that the increased awareness would lead to more resources to fight against diabetes.

International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced the day in the wake of alarming rise of diabetes worldwide.

WHO estimates more than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes. The number is likely to double by 2030.

In Lahore, medical camps, seminars, workshops and walks were arranged both at the government and private levels to increase awareness about precautionary measures to avoid diabetes and benefits of early diagnosis and proper management to reduce its hazards.

Post Graduate Medical Institute/Lahore General Hospital arranged medical camp, seminar and a walk to mark the day. Principal PGMI Prof Khalid Mahmood led the walk largely attended by doctors, nurses, students and people from various walks of life. Stage artist Sohail Ahmed also participated in the walk. At the seminar, medical experts stressed the need of adopting healthy life style, increasing physical activity, quiting smoking, periodical check ups and proper management of the diseases after diagnosis for reducing hazards of the silent killer.

Speaking at a seminar arranged in connection with World Diabetes Day at Special Kids Inn, President General Cadre Doctors Association Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh said that diabetes could cause cardiac, kidney failure, strokes, blindness, impotence and infections that could lead to amputations. Students, teachers and families of mentally and physically handicapped children were present on the occasion.

Dr Masood Sheikh said that more than 350 million people in the world has diabetes. Diabetes is the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80% of them occurring in low and middle income countries. Diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. He said that physical inactivity, excessive use of cold drinks and fast food was causing obesity, a major reason behind increase in number of diabetes patients. He said that the situation was so alarming that there would hardly any household without a diabetes patient after 20 years. He urged the masses to adopt healthy lifestyle and change eating habits for avoiding diabetes.

Dr Sheikh said there were two main forms of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes make no insulin and therefore require insulin injections for survival. People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90% of all cases, usually produce their own insulin, but not enough or they are unable to use it properly. People with type 2 diabetes are typically overweight and sedentary. Although there is evidence that a large proportion of cases of diabetes and its complications can be prevented by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco, this evidence is not widely implemented. He said that coordinated international and national policies are needed to reduce exposure to the known risk factors for diabetes and to improve access to quality of care.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club, medical experts have stressed the need of massive awareness campaign regarding benefits of healthy lifestyle and eating habits for avoiding diabetes and reducing hazards of the silent killer. Prof Aziz-ur-Rehman, Prof Irshad Hasan, Prof Rashid Ahmed, Dr Shahbaz Sarwar, Dr Waseem Ahmed and Dr Abual Zafar attended the event arranged by Pakistan Endocrine Society. They said that the situation was so alarming that by 2030 more than 12.5 million people in Pakistan would get diabetes. They urged the pregnant women to regularly visit gynecologist till delivery.

Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians arranged a seminar at Mayo Hospital. Speaking at the event, Dr Zaheer Akhtar said that diabetes was mother of several diseases. President PAFP Dr Tariq Mian and other office bearers were also present.