Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) Secretary General Professor Abdul Basit introduced the theme of the World Diabetes Day “Education to Protect Tomorrow” at the WHO Collaborating Centre Karachi.

He said Diabetes education is now recognized as a key component of diabetes management. Education and training of diabetes educators, nurses, dietician, pharmacists, people with diabetes, and the general public is of utmost importance for the prevention of diabetes and its complications.

1st Speaker of the Scientific Session was Prof Peter Schwarz. Who talked on the topic of “Diabetes Prevention Program”. He said after about 3years the Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that people who are high risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease by losing modest amount of weight through lifestyle changes (dietary changes and increased physical activity-eating less fat and fewer calories and exercising 150 minutes per week). One group of participants in lifestyle change program lowered the chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 58% and other group who took a safe effective generic medicine Metformin lowered their chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by 31%.

Another study DPP Outcomes Study (DPPOS) in which DPP participants were kept for 10 and 15 years to see delay in developing Type 2 Diabetes after either on lifestyle change or continuing to take metformin. The result of delaying in developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus was 34% on lifestyle change and Metformin by 18%. There was also improved in their risk for Cardio Vascular Disease.

Dr Romania Iqbal talked on the topic of “Modifying lifestyle of women with a history of GDM to prevent DM”. She said Gestational Diabetes is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. If you have had Gestational Diabetes, you have higher risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes. If you have had Gestational Diabetes, the healthy choices may also reduce your risk of having it again in future pregnancies or developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in future. Eating healthy food high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, watch portion size. Keep active, 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week lose extra weight. Don’t gain more weight than ideal. Gaining too much weight too quickly can increase your risk of Gestational Diabetes and developing Type 2 Diabetes.

3rd talk of Scientific Session was by Dr Atif Munir who talked on “Type 1 diabetes in Pakistan – Lost in translation”. He said no age group is spare from diabetes. Type 1 is usually encountered in the younger age group and Type 2 diabetes is known to affect adults, but now type 2 diabetes is on emergence in children and adolescents. This has to be taken seriously as it is a threat for developing complications at an early age. Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed early and is treated with insulin till life. Punctuality and regularity should be ensured with diet control. There is no role of oral drugs.

4th talk was by Prof Peter Schwarz on the topic of “Challenges of hypoglycemia as a major diabetic complication”. He said tight glucose control carries a risk of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition when the level of sugar in the blood drops below the healthy range. Everyone has different levels of blood sugar at different times. But for most, low blood sugar is defined as below 70mg/dl. Severe hypoglycemia happens at lower levels that requires the assistance of someone else in order to correct low blood sugar, it is dangerous. Some people don’t have symptoms or don’t notice them, it is called hypoglycemia unawareness. The key to prevent events is managing diabetes. Follow instructions about food and exercise. Do blood sugar tests frequently and keep record. Take all medicines exactly as prescribed. Severe hypoglycemia can have several serious complications. higher risk of heart disease and death in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Prof Asher Fawwad Joint Secretary DAP talked on “Value addition of the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP)”. He said I have this opportunity to introduce recent developments at the DAP. We are soon starting an equipped eye department with extended services, including Laser Treatment, Intravitreal Injection, and Cataract Surgeries for people with diabetes. Additionally, we are inaugurating a Diabetic Foot clinic and Pedograph to promote prevention of Diabetic Foot. Furthermore, a Gestational Diabetes Clinic setup is also underway. We are pleased to write that DAP is heading towards a paper-free environment and are now almost fully computerized from reception to the doctor’s desk, followed by diet and education department, and finally to pharmacy and prescription.

In the evening Open Session was organized for people with Diabetes and their families. Prof Abdul Basit introduced the theme of World Diabetes Day 2022.

Chief guest Lt Gen (R) Moin Uddin Haider, HI (M) Former Governor Sindh/Former Federal Minister of Interior applauded Diabetic Association of Pakistan’s efforts towards the improvement of diabetes care in Pakistan. He emphasized on the prevention and best management of diabetes to avoid complications.

Related: JPMC holds 8th National Symposium on World Diabetes Day

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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