Diabetes unhealthier foods that are rich in calories and

Diabetes is currently one of the most
prevalent diseases in the world, the global prevalence for which was found to
be 425 million in 2017 and is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. Most
diabetics are found to be in developing countries, of which Pakistan is a
significant contributor. According to IDF, there are 6.6 million Pakistani
living with diabetes and this number is expected to go up to 14.5 million by
2025. Pakistan is currently the 10th largest diabetic population in
the world. 1 Pakistan being a developing country faces a shortage resources
in every department particularly in specialized fields like medicine. It has a
population of 161.66 million, of whom 68% live in rural areas, 33% of the
population lives below the poverty line and 40% have no access to even basic
health services. 2

This increased prevalence of diabetes
in recent years can be attributed to an increased adoption of certain lifestyle
changes and behavioral habits like lack of exercise, increase in consumption of
unhealthier foods that are rich in calories and obesity. These are identified
as risk factors for developing diabetes down the line. Correct knowledge of these
risk factors and their prevention can easily reduce the onset of diabetes and
reduce the already overwhelming disease burden in Pakistan. 3

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For the people who already have
diabetes, management diabetes cannot be solely based on medical care as counselling
from health care providers and knowledge about the disease as equally
important. The more a person knows about the disease the easier it will be to
delay and prevent its irreversible complications that can also prove to be
fatal. 4 Diabetic education has always and will always be the foundation of
management of this disease. Unfortunately, various studies have shown that the
level of education about diabetes, its risk factors and complications is scarce
among the general population of Pakistan. A study conducted in Quetta found
that 77.11% of the study population had no knowledge of diabetes and its
complications. 5 Similarly, in 2009 a study in investigating the awareness
level about diabetes mellitus and associated factors in rural Islamabad showed
that out of the three hundred adults surveyed, only 129 (43%) had any knowledge
of Diabetes Mellitus. Awareness of risk factors was present in 42 (14%) while
awareness of the complications associated with the disease was 65 (22%). Adults
who reported as never going for regular checkups to any clinic or hospital were
232 (77%). 6

Therefore, knowledge about diabetes
and role of dietary modifications and lifestyle changes are important factors
to help prevent onset of this disease. Also, in patients who already have
diabetes, its long-term complications can easily be prevented or significantly
delayed by moderately tweaking their lifestyle. But this can only be achievable
when an individual possesses sufficient knowledge about this disease. This low
cost and highly effective management regime is best suited for Pakistan
considering the current financial situation the country is facing. 7

 

RATIONALE

It
has been noted that unsatisfactory knowledge about diabetes is one the most
crucial factors in predicting health outcomes in diabetic patients. 8 Diabetes
awareness programs can be beneficial in decreasing the burden of disease by
delivering proper health related information to both healthy and diseased
populations. The aim of this study is to determine the number of people who are
aware of diabetes, its risk factors and complications to get an idea of where
Pakistan stands currently in terms of diabetes education. This will enable us
to target places and populations who are at greatest risk. Educational schemes
aimed at enhancing knowledge are an extremely important prerequisite to any
significant improvement in health outcomes. 9,10

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