Diabetes affects one in four adults in Pakistan, but many are unaware of their condition, medical experts have warned. They said that over 33 million individuals in the country have diabetes, with a staggering 25 per cent unaware of their condition.”
The experts said that lack of proper treatment could lead to serious complications such as kidney, eye and heart diseases.
Speaking at a seminar at Lahore General Hospital, Postgraduate Medical Institute Principal Prof Muhammad Al-Fareed Zafar said that millions of people around the world were suffering from health problems due to diabetes. He urged the patients to seek help from qualified physicians as soon as possible.
Prof Tahir Siddique said that diabetes was considered an epidemic all over the world, including Pakistan, and could be inherited from parents to children.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, Pakistan has the highest national prevalence of diabetes in the world, with 26.7% of the adult population living with the disease¹. An additional 11 million adults in Pakistan have impaired glucose tolerance, which places them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Medical experts said that improper diet, obesity and poor lifestyle were the main causes of the disease. They advised people to adopt healthy habits such as eating balanced meals, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking.
Diabetes is a complex condition with various types, each with its unique characteristics and underlying causes. The three primary forms of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone that helps the glucose in your blood get into your cells to be used for energy. Without insulin, your blood glucose levels become too high, which can cause serious health problems. Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, because it usually develops in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Some genetic and environmental factors may also play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes.
Some of the common symptoms of type 1 diabetes are increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and blurred vision. Sometimes, the first symptoms of type 1 diabetes can be signs of a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which requires immediate medical attention. DKA can cause breath that smells fruity, dry or flushed skin, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, trouble breathing, and confusion.
To diagnose type 1 diabetes, health care professionals usually perform a blood test to measure your blood glucose level. If you have clear-cut symptoms of diabetes, they may use a random plasma glucose (RPG) test, which can be done at any time of the day. If you don’t have symptoms, they may use a fasting blood sugar (FBS) test, which is done after overnight fasting, or a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test, which provides an average blood glucose level of the past 2 to 3 months.
People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive. Insulin can be given by injection or by using an insulin pump. Insulin helps lower your blood glucose levels and prevent complications of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes also need to monitor their blood glucose regularly, follow a healthy eating plan, be physically active, and get regular health checkups.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is more common and often linked to lifestyle factors, including poor diet, obesity, and inactivity. In this form, the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin. It usually develops in adults, but increasingly affects younger individuals. Management may involve lifestyle changes, oral medications, or insulin.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet increased needs. It usually resolves after childbirth, but both the mother and child are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.