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Experts call for protection of family from diabetes

KARACHI: The Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) and the World Health Collaborating Centre Karachi recently organized a scientific session for doctors at a local hotel in Karachi.

The session began with a welcome address by Prof A Samad Shera, Secretary-General, Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP), Founding President, Diabetes in Asia Study Group (DASG), and Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Diabetes.

He introduced the theme of World Diabetes Day as “Family and Diabetes.”

This year’s campaign slogan states, “Protect your Family.” He said that diabetes had assumed an epidemic proportion quoting the WHO’s estimate that currently, over 425 million people have diabetes. These numbers are expected to rise to 522 million by 2030. One in two people living with diabetes is unaware of the disease.

Discussing “Insulin therapy,” he said that type 1 diabetes is rare in Pakistan, and it is diagnosed early. People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin to sustain life.

He stressed on tight control of diabetes to reduce the risk of complications such as blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease.

Prof Zaman Shaikh talked on “Lifestyle Modification in the Prevention of Diabetes.” He said diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthy, becoming more physically active, and losing extra fat.

It is never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road.

There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help to lose weight, lower blood sugar, and boost sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar within a healthy range. If one is overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every kilogram we lose can improve our health, and it is surprising by how much.

However, their effectiveness at preventing diabetes is unknown, as are their long-term effects, and by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, one may be giving up essential nutrients.

Childhood obesity must not be taken lightly as it may be a predisposing factor for many diseases in time to come. Slim parents are role models for their children for the prevention of obesity.

Prof Yakoob Ahmedani spoke on the topic of “Role of Hypoglycemic Agents in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes.” He said type 2 diabetes mellitus is caused by insulin resistance and characterized by progressive pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction. An integral component for the effective management of T2DM includes lifestyle modification.

He enumerated other groups of oral hypoglycemic agents. He further said over time, most patients with type 2 diabetes will need insulin to control glucose.

Prof Shabeen Naz Masood spoke on the topic of “Screening and Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy.” She defined Gestational Diabetes Mellitus as glucose intolerance that begins or is first diagnosed during pregnancy and usually resolves after delivery. One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes mellitus is a substantial and growing health concern in many parts of the world.

The Pakistani population is especially vulnerable to developing this condition because of genetic, social, and environmental factors. Early detection and intervention can significantly improve outcomes for women with this condition and their babies.

Prof Masood said that ideally, every pregnant lady should be screened for diabetes, but if it is not possible, then the high-risk group must be screened. These are women with significant glycosuria, gross obesity, family history of diabetes, history of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, repeated abortions, macrosomia, polyhydramnios, birth with congenital anomalies, and more.

She said that screening should be done on the first antenatal visit. If the screen is negative, the ideal time for the second screening is between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

Prof Abdul Basit spoke on the topic of “Primary Prevention of Diabetes in Pakistan.” He said that Pakistan is confronting a rapidly growing epidemic of diabetes. The country currently has 27.4 million people with diabetes.

This state of affairs is extremely alarming and stipulates an urgent need for pragmatic prevention. Diabetes-related chronic complications are also highly prevalent in our population.

In conclusion, Prof Samad Shera thanked the chief guest and participants for making the program a success.

November 6, 2019

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