While much of the attention in the health sector in South Africa has, quite correctly, been focused on combating HIV/Aids – and huge progress has been made – a quiet killer has been gaining ground to the extent where it is now one of the biggest threats to the well-being of the nation.
With more than 4.5 million people in this country living with diabetes – more than two million of whom are unaware they have the condition – South Africa is now in the top 10 countries worldwide where the disease is increasing.
Diabetes is a genuinely democratic disease which respects no gender, racial or cultural makeup, nor socioeconomic status.
The increase in Type Two (or later onset) diabetes is partly due to lack of knowledge and unhealthy eating and exercise habits.
These are factors which can be addressed successfully by increasing awareness, as well as the implementation of early detection and treatment programmes.
Experts say Type Two diabetes accounts for more than 90% of instances of the disease and can be managed initially by patients through diet changes and exercise, but that eventually medication and insulin will be required.
The message is: be aware and get checked by your doctor.
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