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Experts attribute rise in diabetes to unhealthy lifestyle

Published : 16 Feb 2021 10:17 PM

BSS, Dhaka

Health experts attributed unhealthy lifestyle to the alarming rise of diabetes patients emerging huge burden on the health sector in the country.

“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent non-communicable diseases globally…. the number of people with diabetes is increasing rapidly in Bangladesh,” President of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh Dr AK Azad Khan told BSS.

Poor lifestyle is largely responsible for the rising cases of diabetes in the country; he said adding, unhealthy lifestyles include inadequate physical activity and fast food-dependent food habit.

“Roughly 85 lakh people are suffering from diabetes disease in the country. Of them, proportion of type-1 diabetes is five percent while 95 percent people are suffering from type-2 diabetes,” Prof Azad added. Explaining the nature of diabetes disease, he said most of the people are being affected by type-2 diabetes due to lack of awareness and insufficient knowledge on nutritious food.

The health expert said many factors including everyday lifestyle, food habit and genetic factors are associated with diabetes disease. “We can prevent 75 percent diabetes, if the people follow healthy living method… 25 percent patients could control this non-communicable disease through maintaining health rules.”

“Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar,” Prof Azad added.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The diabetes specialist said people with type-1 diabetes need to take insulin on a regular basis for their survival while people with type-2 diabetes do not need insulin initially. But, later they also need to take insulin when it turns into severe form, Prof Azad added.

He urged the government to provide insulin at free of cost to the people to save their lives from this chronic disease. Prof Azad said, “There is no specific data on deaths caused by diabetes…. as type 1 diabetes complications can affect major organs in our body, including heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. So, a large number of people in Bangladesh die from diabetes or diabetes related complications.”

Maintaining a normal blood sugar level can dramatically reduce the risk of many complications, he added. Associate Professor of Department of Endocrinology (Specialist, Hormone and Diabetes) Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Dr Shahjada Selim said technology-driven lifestyle and unplanned urbanization are major contributor to the increase of diabetes patient in the country.

Referring to two common forms of diabetes — type-1 and type-2 — he said, “We are observing that type-2 diabetes is increasing sharply in the country due to unhealthy life-style… As children are being grown up within confined spaces.” Most educational institutions have no playgrounds, he said, adding they are facing similar problems in their residential areas, particularly metropolitan cities in the country. Many people with type-2 diabetes do not know about their disease, Selim said adding as a result, it (type-2) develops into type-1 diabetes pushing the patient into severe health complications. He said, “Most of the people lack proper knowledge about diabetes disease… this chronic disease (diabetes) must be incorporated in our education curriculum so that children can acquire knowledge on diabetes to prevent spread of this silent killer disease.”

Selim warned that many pregnant mothers are being affected by diabetes, he said, adding the child mortality rate is increasing due to pregnancy period diabetes.

As many people are unknown regarding diabetes disease, they should be screened before conceiving a child; he said adding otherwise, babies will be born with diabetes. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), diabetes is one of the four major types of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that make the largest contribution to morbidity and mortality worldwide. About 422 million people globally had diabetes, with most living in the developing countries, it said adding the prevalence of diabetes is increasing in Bangladesh in both urban and rural areas.