ISLAMABAD, Jan 13 (APP): International Diabetes Federation (IDF) had claimed that diabetes was responsible for 400,000 deaths in Pakistan in the year 2021, declaring it the highest number in the Middle-East and North Africa Region.
According to IDF’s new figures, one in four adults (26.7%) in Pakistan is living with diabetes – the highest national prevalence in the world. These findings from the 10th Edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, reported that Pakistan now had the third highest number of people living with diabetes in the world, after China (141 million) and India (74 million).
An additional 11 million adults in Pakistan had Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), which places them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More than a quarter (26.9%) of adults living with diabetes in Pakistan are undiagnosed.
When diabetes is undetected or inadequately treated, people with diabetes are at risk of serious and life-threatening complications, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-limb amputation.
These results in reduced quality of life and higher health care costs, the report added. IDF says that 537 million adults are now living with diabetes worldwide – a rise of 16% (74 million) since the previous IDF estimates in 2019.
“The rapidly rising level of diabetes in Pakistan presents a significant challenge to the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in the country,” says Professor Abdul Basit, Director, Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology, Baqai Medical University. He said that this year marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin.
This milestone presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the impact of diabetes and highlights the urgent need to improve access to care for the millions affected. He said that an estimated one in two people with diabetes across the world who need insulin cannot access or afford it.
“We must do more to provide affordable and uninterrupted access to diabetes care for all in Pakistan, and around the world. Joint efforts are needed to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prevent the condition in those at high risk of developing it,” Basit added.
Globally, 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. The rise in the number of people with type 2 is driven by a complex interplay of socio-economic, demographic, environmental, and genetic factors while the key contributors include urbanization, an ageing population, decreasing levels of physical activity, and increasing levels of overweight and obesity.
Much can be done to reduce the impact of diabetes. Evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented, while early diagnosis and access to appropriate care for all types of diabetes can avoid or delay complications in people living with the condition.