Eyes on Diabetes

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November 14th each year marks World Diabetes Day across the globe. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2016 is Eyes on Diabetes which is aimed at promoting ‘the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce to the risk of serious complications’, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).  World Diabetes Day is marked annually with the continuous aim of making people knowledgeable about diabetes which is a mostly ‘preventable and treatable non-communicable disease’ which according to statistics is unfortunately growing rapidly worldwide.

Diabetes and the importance of early diagnosis

Diabetes is commonly referred to as ‘having sugar’ by people because it causes blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body to rise high. This is a state known as hyperglycemia which can lead to severe complications such as kidney failure, strokes, heart diseases and serious damage to the eyes. The body requires insulin hormones to be injected as it cannot produce its own. Diabetes is a lifelong condition.

According to the IDF one in two people live with diabetes undiagnosed, which is why the IDF has started the Test2Prevent Initiative. The focus of the coming year will be to promote the importance of screening for an early diagnosis of Type2 Diabetes so that the proper treatment can be administered to reduce the risk of serious complications.

It has been predicted by IDF that by 2040 the number of people with diabetes in Africa will double. The continuously growing number of people with diabetes will have an adverse effect on sustainable development.

Screening and prevention

There are simple tests that can be done to find out if a person has Type2 Diabetes and thereafter for the necessary care to be taken. According to the Sri Lanka Diabetes Federation a test result of 126mg/dL or more for a Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) test indicates Diabetes. For a FBS an eight hour fasting period is needed, with only water being permitted. A test result of 200mg/dL or more together with symptoms is indicative of Diabetes for a Random Blood Sugar or RBS test. This test can be done at any time of the day without the need for fasting. Other screening tests include the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test and the HbA1C test. All these tests are easy to do and very necessary and statistics show that many diabetics do not display the normal symptoms till they develop the complications that Diabetes causes.

Sri Lanka too is severely affected by diabetes with statistics revealing that one person in every six suffers from diabetes.

Regular checkups and simple lifestyle changes will go a long way towards helping the global diabetes initiative of diabetes prevention. Early detection helps prevent the serious consequences of diabetes which not only benefits the individual but the society as a whole.

Western Hospital provides comprehensive care and treatment for diabetes patients.