KARACHI, Nov 10: Around 120,000 people die in Pakistan every year as a result of diabetes related complications and many more are being incapacitated, much of which can be successfully avoided, experts said at a seminar held on Sunday.

“Studies have shown that even small improvements in glucose control can lead to significant reduction in complications,” said Dr Jawed Akhter, a consultant endocrinologist, at the seminar held in Aga Khan University to mark World Diabetes Day.

He said that up to a 58 per cent reduction in the development of diabetes could be achieved if pre-diabetes was controlled effectively.

“Pre-diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar is above normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Progression to diabetes can be checked with a good diet and a regular exercise routine,” he said.

Experts said education and prevention were important to fight diabetes. Four out of five diabetics worldwide were living in middle or low income countries with half of them unaware of their condition.

They said screening for pre-diabetes was one essential step in combating it as more than 10pc of the people with pre-diabetes became diabetic within three years.

The session was told that once diabetes developed there was significant reduction in the capacity of insulin producing cells in the pancreas and diabetes tended to progress. If not controlled, diabetes related complications affect eyes, kidneys, nerves, blood supplies and heart.

They said a very high proportion, about half of the people, who died with diabetes related complications were below 60 years.

“Pre-diabetes screening is also an early warning for overweight people to get tested, especially if they suffer from other additional risk factors such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides or a family history of diabetes,” Dr Asma Ahmed, consultant endocrinologist, added.

Prof Najmul Islam discussed ways of optimizing diabetes management. He said that by adhering to standards of care for sugar levels, cholesterol and BP, many diabetes complications could be reduced or completely avoided.

“A healthy diet can significantly improve blood glucose and assist in weight control for most patients,” said Moti Khan, clinical nutritionist.

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