LAHORE - Diabetes can wreak havoc on every major organ system in the body, causing heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, impotence and infections that can lead to amputations.

Multiple actions can be done to reduce the impact of diabetes, through adopting healthy lifestyles and asking the government to take action on curbing the marketing of unhealthy foods and ensuring health systems can reduce its incidence.

These views were expressed by the president General Cadre Doctors Association, Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh, while addressing a seminar held in connection with world Diabetes day on Thursday, at Special Kids Inn, Lahore. The students, teachers and families of the mentally and physically handicapped children were present on the occasion.

Dr Masood sheikh said that close to 350 million people in the world has diabetes. Diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80 percent of them occurring in low and middle-income countries. Diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.

Dr Sheikh said there are two main forms of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes typically make none of their own insulin and therefore require insulin injections for survival.

People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90 percent 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 good 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.

Dr Masood sheikh said that coordinated international and national policies are needed to reduce exposure to the known risk factors for diabetes and to improve access to and quality of care. There is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes that can be traced back to rapid increases in overweight, including obesity and physical inactivity.

Total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years. He added that cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50 percent and 80 percent of deaths in people with diabetes.

Addressing the seminar Dr Fatima said that Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In developed countries most people with diabetes are above the age of retirement, whereas in developing countries those most frequently affected are aged between 35 and 64. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure

Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services and essential medicines, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.