LAHORE - World Diabetes Day was observed across the country including Lahore on Tuesday to raise awareness about preventive measures, early diagnosis and proper management of the disease to avoid further complications. 

The theme of WDD this year is Women and Diabetes, with the slogan "Our right to a healthy future".

Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the campaign will promote the importance of affordable and equitable access for all women at risk for or living with diabetes to the essential medicines and technologies, self-management education and information to strengthen their capacity to prevent type 2 diabetes. Over 199 million women are living with diabetes worldwide and this number is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040.

Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. Women with diabetes experience barriers in accessing cost-effective prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care, particularly in developing countries.

Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide. Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes.

Approximately one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes (GDM), a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health. A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop type 2 diabetes resulting in further healthcare complications and costs.

Pakistan is among the top five countries for number of diabetics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, second only to Egypt. Over 6.7 million people are currently estimated to have diabetes and 7.6 million more at risk.

At least 10 people die every hour in Pakistan from diabetes related complications and the situation is going from bad to worse due to lack of public awareness and the resultant delayed diagnosis, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits. Number of people with diabetes will nearly double and reach 12.8 million by 2035. Those with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), a precursor to diabetes, will increase to over 13.4 million by 2035. Of all people with diabetes only about 50 per cent (3.3 million) are diagnosed. From those diagnosed with diabetes, 50 per cent (1.7 million) receive medical attention, with only 30 per cent (500000) cases achieving treatment targets. Only 3.8 per cent of all people with diabetes achieve target outcomes and live free of complications. Diabetic camps, seminars and walks were arranged by different public sector and private institutions in big cities including Lahore to provide diagnosis facilities and raise awareness about harmful effects of diabetes and precautionary measures.

Addressing awareness seminar at Lahore General Hospital, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute Prof Ghias-un-Nabi Tayyab has called upon the women to take home-made food. He said that control on diabetes was in the hands of the people. Healthy life style, avoiding junk food, soft drinks and regular exercise was key to check diabetes, he said, adding, early diagnosis and proper management was essential to avoid further complications like heart attack, paralysis, blindness and feet problems. He urged women to take extra care of own health as diabetes could transfer to offspring.  Prof Imran Hasan Khan said that avoiding smoking, balanced diet, exercise and walk was essential to avoid falling a prey to silent killer. He said that every third Pakistani was at risk of getting diabetes. He called upon the people to approach qualified doctor instead of using shortcuts for complete cure of diabetes as it was impossible.

Dr Maliha Hameed suggested bringing necessary changes in lifestyle for avoiding diabetes.  The seminar was followed by a walk. Renowned TV artist Irfan Khosat specially participated in the walk.

Fatima Memorial Hospital held free Diabetic Awareness Camp to create awareness of the disease and to educate the public on how to cope with it.  More than 310 patients were seen free of cost at the camp by the consultants of the Department of Medicine at Fatima Memorial Hospital. Patients were offered free sugar, cholesterol and BMI testing while dietary advice was given by nutritionists.