Today we observe the World Diabetes Day under the theme “Healthy living and Diabetes”
Today is a day for the world to remember and engage that we are in this fight against diabetes together, and is important not only for people with diabetes or caregivers of people with diabetes, but also for all Tibetans at large. The theme chosen for this Day “Healthy living and Diabetes” from 2014-2016 highlights the Important role of Healthy living which helps prevent and in the fight against diabetes.
Diabetes is a major non-communicable chronic disease (NCD) which can have serious consequences, whether you are young or old. According to the World Health Organization, Diabetes affects more than 350 million people in the world. Many suffer and will suffer from its complications and die prematurely. As the World struggle against infectious diseases, such as Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV AIDS; and Hepatitis B in case of our community, Diabetes also poses an even greater threat to us.
Only 20% of deaths occur in developed countries whereas 80 % of deaths occur in undeveloped and developing countries. The data in health information system of the department shows that diabetes is one of commonly diagnosed diseases amongst Tibetans. It is one of the most frequently treated chronic diseases in our clinics. We therefore need to educate our community. We need to educate our youngsters, students, adults and the elderly in order to prevent them from becoming sick or even dying from this disease.
Diabetes, also commonly known as “sugar” disease is a metabolic disease in which the organ called pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the human cells and tissues become less sensitive and less responsive to the insulin produced by the body. This results in the sugar content in our blood being raised to harmful levels. These thus cause damage to eyes, blood vessels, kidney, heart etc.
There are three main type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes will affect 1 in every 10 people. These patients will have to take insulin injection for the rest of their lives combined with a special diet, as well as regular exercise. Type 2 Diabetes is caused when body does not produce enough insulin to function properly, or the cells in the body do not respond to the insulin produced. Type 2 Diabetes can be genetic, but it can also be caused by lifestyle factors like obesity, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress and urbanization. The third gestational diabetes, occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood sugar level. It may precede development of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is highly advisable for women to test their blood sugar when they are pregnant.
This year, World Diabetes Day focuses on healthy living and eating as an important component of both preventing and treating diabetes. Healthy eating and regular exercise can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and are important in managing all types of diabetes.
The CTA department of health strives to protect health of present and future generation through campaigns that will create greater awareness individual-to-individual and community-to-community.
Diabetes patients are usually treated with special diet, medication, and by increasing the amount of exercise they take. Unfortunately, when diabetes remains untreated, there is a serious risk of developing severe, life threatening complications.
Everyone in the Tibetan community needs to play their part. Every Tibetan needs to become aware of the risk of getting diabetes. We are all responsible for trying to prevent it. We need to change our lifestyle. We need to watch what we eat and we need to take regular exercises. These two factors are critical if we want to avoid severe consequences of getting diabetes. Besides lifestyle modifications, screening blood sugar early for diabetes is also very important. This testing is easily available at all our hospitals and health centers at affordable price. Only 50% of people with diabetes are aware that they have diabetes. I urge Tibetans to undergo screening early, not just for diabetes, but also for other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Screening must be accompanied by follow-up and appropriate action, management and treatment to prevent complications.
In order to fight this disease together and reduce its impact on our community, please join the CTA health department today in explaining the dangers of diabetes.
Let us make World Diabetes Day meaningful by committing to practicing healthy living ourselves and making it possible for others to do the same.