ISLAMABAD - Health experts have advised diabetic patients to adopt preventive measures to avoid serious health hazards including amputation of limbs posed by diabetes, as treatment is costly as well as difficult than prevention.

Consultant Endocrinologist at Shifa International Hospital, Dr Usama Ishtiaq, said every 10 seconds, two people are diagnosed with diabetes, and one person dies of diabetes related causes. He was addressing to a public awareness seminar organised by Shifa International Hospital to observe World Diabetes Day here on Wednesday.

Dr Usama said seven million people become victim of diabetes every year around the globe and 70,000 children suffer from type-1 diabetes every year. “More than seven million people in Pakistan are diabetic patients.” He said diabetes can badly affect eyes, brain, heart, kidneys and legs. It’s one of the major causes of blindness and kidney failure.

While informing the audience about symptoms of diabetes, Dr Usama said need to urinate several times, feeling severe thirst, reducing weight and fatigue and weakness are important symptoms of this deadly disease. Taking balanced diet, regular exercise, weight control, regular medication and proper test of blood glucose level are a few essential factors that can help to control diabetes and avoid complications, he observed.

Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Mazhar ul Haq said in diabetes prevention is more important than treatment. He said diabetic patients should strictly check their lifestyle and dietary habits to avoid serious complications including limbs amputation. They need to pay close daily attention to foot health especially when there is significantly diminished blood flow and nerve damage (neuropathy).

He said such complications do not occur very early but with the passage of time can pose serious threat to patient’s life.

He stressed on pregnant diabetic women to specially follow the instructions of their doctor in order to avoid complication that can also affect newborn baby.

Prevention or delay possible with rigorous lifestyle intervention or drug therapy, 30 minutes daily exercise, at least 2 monthly dietary advice and early treatment for cholesterol and BP can help people avoid diabetes as well as complications.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Yousaf Hassan said patients with diabetes are at very high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and peripheral vascular diseases. “They are at more risk of heart attack and heart failure than normal persons,” he stated. He was of the view that in serious complication due to diabetes patients commonly left with no option but surgery that is costly and risky. He stressed on the need to adopt healthy lifestyle and risk prevention measures for living a better life.

Nutrition expert Aman Afridi highlighted the importance of diet in treatment of diabetes. She also underlined factors affecting individual diet of diabetic patients such as type of diabetes, complications, medications, blood sugar control, past medical history, height, weight, age, gender, dietary history, eating patterns and habits, favorite foods, food allergies and physical activity. Aman also shared a sample diet plan for patients with diabetes and emphasized on including fiber in regular diet. She told that bran wheat, fruits and vegetables contain fiber that has virtually zero calories. Fiber is equally beneficial for patients with cardiac diseases, she added.

Later, all speakers and Consultant Endocrinologist Dr. Naseem Yousaf, Consultant Nephrologist Dr Syed Nayyer Mahmood and Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. Sadia Farooq gave answers to various queries of patients in question-answer session.

The world Diabetes Day was also celebrated in Federal Government Polyclinic, Islamabad. Prof Dr Iftikhar Malik and Dr Khawaja M Ahmad addressed on the event. They informed the number of persons suffering from Diabetes mellitus is increasing rapidly in Pakistan. It is estimated that about 7.1 million people are suffering from this disease in Pakistan and will increase to 13.8 million by the year 2030.

Therefore Pakistan will come to 4th number by the number of patients in the world as compared to 7th number presently. It was stressed that the prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus can be reduced by the awareness of the people and for this purpose everyday should be celebrated as World Diabetes Day.

They advised that there is a need to decrease the obesity in the people which is becoming epidemic by avoiding overeating, excessive fatty diet, junk food, pizza and by doing exercise. ‘One must eat balanced diet especially the use of fresh vegetables and fruits.

The people should avoid sedentary lifestyle. They should adopt the habit of performing exercise, at least 30 min daily walk. The exercise is very helpful in decreasing the prevalence of Diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases including heart attack, hypertension and also decreasing cholesterol in the blood’.

In the end the question and answer session was held. The literature regarding the prevention and treatment of the disease was distributed among the people. The people actively participated and appreciated the efforts and services given to the patients by the diabetic department of the hospital.