As November 14 marks World Diabetes Day, the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) says nearly five million people in South Africa are possibly living with diabetes.
This is because an estimated 7% to 9% of the country’s population between the ages of 20 and 79 have diabetes. A statement issued by the centre read: “Given the fact that proportionately Africa has the highest number of people with undiagnosed diabetes (over two-thirds of people unaware that they have the condition), many more South Africans may actually have diabetes.”
The CDE describes diabetes as a chronic health condition that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, which lowers blood glucose. It may also occur when the body cannot use the insulin it produces.
Types 1 and 2 are the two common types of diabetes.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, it is predicted that the global prevalence of diabetes is expected to rise exponentially over the next 25 years so that by the year 2040, it is believed that one in every 10 adults will have diabetes.
Therefore, CDE is using World Diabetes Day to educate South Africans of the need for screening to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of Type 2 diabetes in a bid to prevent serious diabetes-related complications.
The CDE explained that the IDF and World Health Organisation started World Diabetes Day “in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threats posed by diabetes.”
The CDE, along with the Johannesburg Zoo, will on November 13 host the 5km Johannesburg Zoo Trot. “Members of the public are invited to join in the fun at the zoo and do the trot to reduce stress, build stamina and keep fit, thus contributing to a healthier lifestyle,” said the centre.
For Durban residents, nonprofit organisation Diabetes SA will also host a walk on November 13 to raise awareness about diabetes that they have labelled the “silent killer”, reports the Northglen News.
Participants of the walk can get tested, share their success stories and help to educate the public about diabetes, which is reaching epidemic proportions globally. The walk will take place at the Amphitheatre on the Lower Marine Parade, Bay of Plenty.
Countrywide, South Africans can have their blood sugar levels tested at any of the 145 MediRite pharmacies in Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets, which will offer free blood sugar tests until November 14 in support of World Diabetes Day, reports the Brakpan Herald.
Customers are urged to make an appointment at their local MediRite, where the friendly and qualified pharmacists will administer blood sugar tests completely free-of-charge.
Razana Allie, a diabetes nurse specialist with the Diabetes Education Society of South Africa explained: “Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body is unable to properly use sugar, in the form of glucose, for energy. Glucose then backs up in the bloodstream, causing one’s blood glucose to rise too high.
“Symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained fatigue, blurred vision and more. If left untreated, it may lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputations. People with risk factors such as family history or increased weight or even symptoms they are unsure of are advised to seek medical advice and get tested for diabetes.”
Allie advises that healthy eating habits and regular exercise can assist with managing and even preventing diabetes.
The CDE has also established a club that aims to assist all South Africans who have been diagnosed with diabetes to manage their condition, as members will receive healthy living tips, information on events and healthy lifestyle shopping vouchers.
– Caxton News Service