KARACHI - Pakistani and international diabetes experts stressed a need for National Action Plan on diabetes at 6th International Diabetes Conference that was held in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Sanofi and the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) collaborated to bring to Pakistan renowned international diabetes experts from globally recognized centres of academic excellence to address the Conference.

Professor Gerry Reyman and Professor Rhys Williams from UK along with Professor A. Samad Shera shared their opinions, insights, perspectives and best practices with healthcare professionals from across Pakistan. They highlighted the criticality of good diabetes management by healthcare professionals in line with the latest scientific research in tandem with adherence by patients to prescribed therapies, oral or injected (insulin). This partnership between doctors and patients is essential to avoid or delay the onset of complications. This year there was particular emphasis on complications pertaining to Diabetic Foot Disease.

Speaking on “Screening and Prevention of Diabetic Foot Disease” Prof. Gerry Rayman said “neuropathy is common in people with diabetes because high blood sugar damages nerve fibres. A poorly controlled patient may have nerve damage leading to loss of sensation in his/her feet or other extremities. A thorough foot examination is important to detect the disease early. Screening for peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease can help identify patients at risk of foot ulcers.”

Secretary General of the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) and Honorary President International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Prof. A. Samad Shera, stressed the need for healthier lifestyle and regular screening for diabetes, particularly for those at high risk. “Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in our country. According to a recent survey, every fourth person in Pakistan in the age group of 20 years and above has Type 2 diabetes. This calls for an urgent need to make changes in the national health policy and launch programs at school level to prevent this disease.

Those at risk must be screened regularly as it is far better to get diagnosed and managed early rather than allow complications to set in before seeking medical advice.” He also urged to follow the IDF slogan “Eat less, walk more” and said “all parents should ensure that their children avoid junk food and aerated drinks since 5 years of age, because overweight and obesity are the major risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes.”