Battling the diabetes scourge

AGEING, URBANISATION and a sedentary lifestyle have all contributed to diabetes emerging as a disease of worldwide concern. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over 190 million people afflicted with diabetes worldwide. And this figure is projected to rise to 330 million by 2025.

The World Diabetes Day is celebrated globally on Novmber 14 to spread public awareness about the causes, symptoms, treatment and complications associated with the condition. This day happens to be the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea that led to the discovery of insulin in October 1921.

The International Diabetes Federation, in association with the World Health Organisation, is focussing on Diabetes and Kidney Diseases this year. The fact diabetes could eventually cause kidney failure in a section of the patients is being sought to be projected this year, as the Day's theme.

The federation explains that diabetes is the leading cause of death due to cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) and the fourth main cause of death in most developed countries.

It is also the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in adults in developed countries.

And people with diabetes are 15 to 40 times more likely to require a lower-limb amputation compared to the general population.

Of course, some may be prone to diabetes due to heriditary factors, but lifestyle factors do count, says Johny J. Kannampilly, Diabetologist at the Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre.

A lifestyle that will help one avoid diabetes has to be instilled very young, says Dr. Kannimpilly. The need for a healthy diet and excercise has to be impressed upon children, he adds.

Battling the diabetes scourge

At the Lakeshore Hospital, Maradu, the event is being marked with a three-day programme.

On Friday, a seminar on `Diabetes prevention from childhood', targetted at school children in the city, will be inaugurated by the film star, Suresh Gopi.

A seminar on `Prevention of Diabetes complications' is scheduled for November 15 for diabetes patients. The programme will deal with kidney, eye, foot and heart complications due to diabetes.

Another seminar on `Diabetes prevention: Focus on adults' will be inaugurated by the Chief Justice of Kerala, Jawahar Lal Gupta, at Lakeshore on Saturday.

On all three days, there will be a screening of the film called `Glory Enough for All: The Discovery of Insulin', based on the life story of Dr. Banting and Dr. Best.

The Lakshmi Hospital will organise an awareness programme and seminar on diabetes at the Women's Association Hall at 3 p.m. The Diabetologist, Bhaskar Kumar Warrier, will speak on the theme of the year.

The Lions Club of Ernakulam, Chavara Cultural Centre and Medilab Diabetic Club would jointly organise an awareness programme at the Chavara Cultural Centre at 5 p.m.

The Former Union Minister, Henry Austin, will inaugurate the programme while Dr. Kannampilly will lead the seminar and an interactive session on diabetes.

By Shyama Rajagopal