Pakistan is among the top 10 diabetes prevalent countries in the world – International Diabetes Foundation
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus (refers to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes) is a lifelong medical condition that is characterized by high blood sugar levels in the body. Type 2 diabetes (also “adult-onset” diabetes) accounts for more than 90% of diagnosed diabetes cases.
Stop blaming glucose! Insulin is the real culprit!
Glucose is the fuel of our body coming from the food we eat. Despite the fact that every single cell of our body derives energy from glucose, too much glucose can be bad. Normally, the level of glucose is regulated by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin enables the body cells to utilize the glucose present in blood as well as aids the storage of excess glucose.
In type 2 diabetes, the body either can’t produce insulin or utilize the insulin in the body (mostly) ultimately raising blood glucose levels. What happens when too much glucose is present in the body? The answer is diabetes!
A diabetologist is also known as a diabetes specialist, diabetes doctor, sugar doctor, diabetes ke mahir and Mahire-amraze-diabetes.
Global Health Burden of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)
Diabetes consumes 10% of the total global health expenditure!
Chronic illness like diabetes type 2 is concerning the global scenario of healthcare. There is an uphill increase in the global burden of diseases. According to recent research, diabetes type 2 has affected nearly 7% of the world’s population (462 million people worldwide).
High blood glucose levels to severe complications like organ damage, it is becoming one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The increasing burden of disease is making it the ninth leading cause of death globally. Due to this evident increase in diabetes cases across the globe, diabetes is gaining the status of the epidemic.
Healthwire Data Insight on T2D Epidemiology in Pakistan
Regionally speaking, when it comes to the health care sector in the Asian region, there is limited availability of data. Data availability accounts as a major constraint in the valuation of the actual situation in developing countries.
Statistically speaking, Pakistan currently stands at the topmost position among South Asian countries with 8 million diabetes cases. The current situation is quite challenging for the healthcare system.
Owing to this situation, Healthwire (an emerging healthcare service provider in Pakistan) has collected data from its Hospital Management System leading to some significant observations. Imperative data bring around the fact that in Pakistan, T2D diagnosis was most common in the age group of 40-45 years (Healthwire.pk).
These actionable insights can change the overall scenario of disease management in the Pakistani population and defining national health policies.
What T2D Appears Like?
No matter why and for how long you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, it isn’t only limited to high blood sugar levels but also takes in other complications such as organ damage etc. There is a wide range of clinical signs and symptoms of diabetes that can vary from to person. Some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetes are;
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Recurring hunger sensation
- Sudden weight loss
- Increased thirst
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Recurring infections
- Loss of sensation or tingling in limbs
- Change in vision
- Darkened skin patches
A person does not necessarily exhibit all these signs and symptoms. Most people, depending upon disease severity and complication can have two or three of these signs and symptoms. It is advisable to go to a diabetologist for timely disease diagnosis.
Common Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes
Surrounded by common observations, diabetes is our most-feared illness and that too, for obvious reasons! However, there are certain risk factors for diabetes that can be your FlashAlert to prevent T2D. These include;
- Age of the patient
- Insulin resistance
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Family history
- Low levels of good cholesterol
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance– An Undying Association
You must be surprised, but insulin resistance is possibly the biggest contributor to disease along with obesity. But what the hype is about? Let me explain!
Obesity is something you can clearly see and spot as a diabetes risk factor but what about insulin resistance? Of course, you can’t see it and it often goes undiagnosed due to its overlapping signs and symptoms. However, it can’t change the fact that insulin resistance in older age can develop into type 2 diabetes.
As widely accepted, older people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes due to its association with other risk factors such as insulin resistance. Statistically speaking on our local data, Healthwire software documented that diabetes diagnosis was most common among middle-aged people (age range from 40-45) among all other age groups.
However, these age ranges can vary for the population residing in different regions of the world. Well, the reason is pretty clear!
Lifestyle standards are not uniform around the globe. Moreover, the awareness regarding the disease among residents of developed countries is way better than those in under-developed or developing countries.
Diabetes Diagnosis- the real game changer!
Next in diabetes is the diagnosis and its importance!
In the case of diabetes type 2, there is a preliminary condition, known as prediabetes, that can predict the future disease onset. In developing countries, the problem is more concerning due to arising complications and late diagnosis (or sometimes misdiagnosis).
Other than these risk factors, a timely or accurate diagnosis can be the real game-changer allowing people to induce lifestyle changes that can prevent their disease onset or even reverse it at early stages. Let’s look at some of the commonly performed diagnostic procedures for type 2 diabetes.
1- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
This is the assessment of your body’s response to glucose. The test is performed after withdrawing a blood sample and then infusing the body with a certain amount of glucose. After feeding the glucose blood is taken at a regular interval for up to 3 hours to check how your blood is processing the sugar.
2- Blood Sugar Test (fasting, postprandial test, random blood sugar test)
Blood sugar levels are checked and compared with the standard values. This test can be performed empty stomach, randomly or two hours after eating to monitor the body capability of utilizing consumed sugar.
3- Hemoglobin A1C Test
This test gives an idea about the average blood sugar levels in the body by monitoring how much glucose is attached to the hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying component of blood).
All these tests, along with other signs and symptoms can help with an early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. However, there are several practices that can make diabetes more manageable.
How to Live with Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition which you can’t completely reverse, the only solution is to live with it. How can we do it? Well, there are several lifestyle changes that can make diabetes more manageable and easy to live with. These are;
1. Eat healthy
We become what we eat! When it comes to diabetes management, food can play a key role because it is the prime source of glucose causing the trouble. Making the right food choice (foods with a low glycemic index and more fibre content might help) and take the first step towards a healthy future.
2. Tracking your Sugar Levels
An important step in diabetes management is the tracking of your blood sugar levels to know how it is going inside.
3. Ensure physical activity
Do you remember to eat and burn formula? This basically refers to physical activity that is equally as important as eating right. Not only can it improve your organ function but also help your body to utilize more glucose.
4. Quit bad habits
You might not consider them bad, but they actually are! Bad habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption can destroy your body systems leading to poor body functioning and increased risk of diseases like diabetes.
5. Consider red flags
As previously said, diabetes is better controlled if diagnosed early. No matter how much you take care of your health, there are certain things which you can’t avoid, your genes! Diabetes runs in your genes and the only way to deal with these unavoidable factors is to notice the signs and take timely action.
Take Away Note!
Diabetes is a life-long chronic condition that is widespread and a sheer burden on global health. Diabetes type 2 takes in multiple causes and risk factors including, some of them can be avoided while others can’t).
Geographically speaking, developing countries’ populations like Pakistan are more susceptible to diabetes type 2 owing to their poor lifestyle choices. However, timely diagnosis and better lifestyle choices can make the disease more manageable.
If you are looking for some diabetes motivation, here I’m giving it with my all-time favourite quote;
“Live to inspire, and one day people will say, because of you, I didn’t give up”