World Diabetes Day being marked today

Kathmandu, November 13

World Diabetes Day is being marked tomorrow by organising different awareness raising programmes with the theme ‘Diabetes: concern of every family.’

Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology has announced that it would organise a week-long diabetic retinopathy awareness programme.

According to International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults (20 to 79 years) are currently living with diabetes and by 2045 this number is expected to rise to 629 million. A fact-sheet released by the federation in 2017 stated that 11,693 died of diabetes in Nepal that year. It also stated that 657 adults in 1,000 were living with diabetes.

Almost all type one diabetic patients face diabetic retinopathy while two thirds type two diabetic patients faces diabetic retinopathy.

Sunita KC, press coordinator of TIO, said 4.8 per cent blindness was caused by diabetic retinopathy. “Due to lack of awareness, most of the patients visit hospital when the disease is at its advanced stage which leads to blindness.”

Issuing a press release, the World Health Organisation today said families were the first line of defence in the battle to prevent and manage diabetes. Families that know the signs, symptoms, risks and complications of diabetes are best positioned to prevent the disease and seek medical care to manage it. Health authorities region-wide should harness this capacity given an estimated 91 million people in the WHO South-East Asia Region live with diabetes, with around 49 million unaware of their condition.

Undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes type one and type two can cause heart, kidney, nerve and eye damage, as well as premature death. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South-East Asia,    through the release suggested to health authorities to ensure all families’ access to educational resources that helped them better understand diabetes.

The importance families have in creating awareness of the risks of diabetes – including overweight and obesity – and in preventing and managing it, is apparent. Families provide a ready-made means to instil healthy habits that last a lifetime, dramatically reducing the risk of diabetes type two, which accounts for the majority of diabetes cases. They can also help ensure the disease is detected and managed effectively. Doing so will avoid complications and the costs it results in for individuals and families.