KNOWN as a ‘lifestyle disease’, diabetes affects millions of Pakistanis, and if greater efforts are not undertaken to control the ailment, the nation may have to confront another health epidemic.
In fact, health experts speaking in the context of World Diabetes Day, which was observed on Tuesday, have called for urgent action to curb the rising prevalence of diabetes.
At one seminar in Karachi, medical experts, quoting the National Diabetes Survey of Pakistan, said the prevalence of diabetes in people aged 20 and over was more than 26pc.
Doctors have observed that there has been a sharp rise in diabetes prevalence in Pakistan. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, the type 2 variant is indeed preventable if the right lifestyle options are adopted.
Unfortunately, worldwide an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food choices and lack of physical activity have all contributed to an increase in diabetes cases.
The same factors are at work in Pakistan and national health authorities need to consider ways and means to prevent the spread of the ailment here.
As diabetes is a non-communicable disease, the state needs to launch awareness campaigns to identify the risk factors that can lead to the ailment. Experts note a healthy lifestyle is essential in preventing diabetes; healthy eating and physical activity are particularly highlighted.
Experts have also called for regular screening of blood sugar levels to check for any signs of trouble. With lifestyles and dietary habits changing in Pakistan, it is essential to immediately start addressing the dangers posed by diabetes and other ailments linked to unhealthy lifestyles.
As it has been noted, processed foods are considered the leading cause of diabetes in children.
Rather than wait for a full-blown epidemic, it would be wise for the state and health practitioners to help spread awareness about the benefits of eating healthier and staying fit amongst all age groups, especially youngsters drawn to junk food.
Diabetes can be prevented if we make the right lifestyle choices.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017