ISLAMABAD: A recently conducted survey has revealed that every fourth Pakistani over the age of 20 is suffering from diabetes.

The survey, which had a sample size of 8,000, also claimed that 19pc of patients were never documented because they never visited a government facility, while 7pc were not aware that they were diabetic.

Carried out by the Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) and the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), the survey’s findings were launched at a three-day international conference held in Rawalpindi. National and international experts, including from countries in Europe, Africa and East Asia, are attending the conference.

Diabetologist Dr Asmat Nawaz told Dawn that according to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, at least 8,000 tests should be conducted during every survey.

“We followed the international standard and held HbA1c tests of 8,000 people over the age of 20 from across the country,” he said.

The aforementioned test reveals the average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. It is used to check whether the blood sugar level stays within range so that diabetes medication can be adjusted, and to diagnose diabetes.

Dr Nawaz said it was unfortunate that 7pc of people were not aware they were diabetic.

In addition, around 26pc of people over the age of 20 were on the diabetes borderline, which means “they can become diabetic any time” and should take precautionary measures.

Prof Abdul Aziz Nather, a diabetologist from Singapore, said while addressing the conference’s participants that 150,000 to 200,000 people lose their lower limbs in Pakistan every year due to diabetes complications, and 70pc of them die within five years of amputation.

“The majority of diabetics who lose their lower limbs are dead within five years of amputation, and the mortality among diabetics following amputation is higher than women with breast cancer,” he added.

Mr Father told diabetics to take care of themselves, consume a healthy diet according to the recommendations of their dieticians, take their medication regularly and exercise daily.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2017