Empowering Lives: Addressing Diabetes Awareness Challenges in Pakistan

Explore diabetes awareness in Pakistan – 34% face knowledge gaps at diagnosis. Uncover prevalent complications and join the movement for informed empowerment.

Empowering Lives: Addressing Diabetes Awareness Challenges in Pakistan

Navigating life with diabetes presents myriad challenges, and recent insights from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) underscore the significance of diabetes awareness in Pakistan. The IDF’s findings reveal a disconcerting trend, with 79% of individuals discovering their diabetes diagnosis only when confronted with associated complications. From vision loss to nerve damage and the life-altering impact of heart disease, these complications underscore the critical need for heightened diabetes awareness initiatives.

The comprehensive survey, spanning regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, brings into sharp focus the pervasive influence of diabetes-related complications. In Pakistan, the statistics are particularly alarming, with a resounding 97% of respondents acknowledging the firsthand experience of one or more complications. Notably, a significant portion—26%—finds themselves entangled in the intricate web of heart disease, a complication that adds another layer of complexity to their health journey.

The complications linked to diabetes extend beyond physical discomfort, delving into realms that are severe and, in some instances, life-threatening. Heart, eye, kidney, and foot damage are among the intricate challenges that individuals with diabetes confront daily. The weight of potential complications casts a long shadow over their lives, with 43% expressing a daily preoccupation with the looming possibility of developing these serious health issues.

This burden is not borne lightly. Individuals navigating the intricate landscape of diabetes-related complications find themselves at a crossroads where the quality of life is compromised, and the specter of severe health implications becomes an ever-present concern. The emotional toll of this daily struggle is palpable, as those affected grapple with fears that extend beyond the physical to the emotional and psychological dimensions of their well-being.

In the face of such challenges, proactive measures become imperative. The need for increased awareness, early detection, and comprehensive management strategies is more pressing than ever. The IDF’s research serves as a clarion call, urging healthcare providers, policymakers, and the public alike to join forces in elevating diabetes awareness, promoting timely intervention, and facilitating access to the necessary resources for effective diabetes management.

Diabetes Education

As we reflect on these revelations, it is incumbent upon us as a global community to prioritize diabetes education and support systems. By fostering a culture of awareness and providing the tools necessary for early detection and prevention, we can collectively work towards alleviating the burden of diabetes-related complications. In doing so, we not only enhance the quality of life for individuals living with diabetes in Pakistan but also contribute to the global efforts to mitigate the impact of this pervasive health challenge.

The imperative of early detection, prompt treatment, and informed self-care cannot be overstated when it comes to mitigating the risks associated with diabetes-related complications. The recent study by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) underscores the critical role these factors play in reducing the severity and impact of complications on individuals living with diabetes.

Yet, despite the clear significance of proactive measures, the study unveils a troubling gap in awareness and preventive efforts. A striking 94% of respondents express a sense of personal responsibility, believing they could have taken more substantial actions to prevent complications. This self-awareness underscores the need for enhanced education and empowerment among individuals with diabetes to enable them to adopt proactive health measures.

Furthermore, the study reveals that 83% of respondents feel their healthcare providers could have played a more proactive role in preventing complications. This points to an essential area for improvement within the healthcare system — a need for healthcare providers to take a more active role in educating patients, facilitating preventive measures, and fostering a collaborative approach to diabetes management. Bridging this awareness gap and strengthening the partnership between individuals and healthcare providers is paramount in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by diabetes-related complications.

Risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes

Crucially, a comprehensive understanding of the risk factors linked to type 2 diabetes is pivotal for effective prevention initiatives. Factors including family history, weight, age, ethnicity, inactivity, and gestational diabetes significantly contribute to an individual’s susceptibility.

Heightened awareness of these factors is indispensable, serving as the bedrock for fostering prevention strategies, early diagnosis, and timely intervention. By empowering individuals and healthcare professionals with this knowledge, we can collectively fortify our defenses against the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes, thereby steering towards a healthier and more informed society.

The Significance of Family History in Diabetes Awareness

As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an individual’s familial background significantly influences their susceptibility to diabetes. Those with a family history are 2-6 times more likely to develop diabetes than those without such a history. If one parent has type 2 diabetes, the risk stands at approximately 15%, escalating to 75% when both parents are affected. Additionally, factors such as prediabetes, gestational diabetes, being overweight or obese, and belonging to certain ethnicities—including African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic—heighten the risk.

Remarkably, type 2 diabetes exhibits a more pronounced connection to familial lineage compared to type 1. Genetics emerge as a potent determinant in the onset of type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the critical role of hereditary factors in shaping an individual’s susceptibility to this prevalent health condition. Understanding these multifaceted risk factors is paramount for effective preventive strategies, early detection, and comprehensive diabetes management.

Late detection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines several key risk factors contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes. These include excess weight, particularly being overweight, advancing age (45 years or older), a familial predisposition with a parent, brother, or sister having type 2 diabetes, inadequate physical activity (less than 3 times a week), and the presence of prediabetes.

Despite the absence of recent statistics on the prevalence of late-diagnosed type 2 diabetes, the World Health Organization (WHO) illuminates a concerning global trend. From 1980 to 2014, the worldwide diabetic population surged from 108 million to a staggering 422 million. Notably, this increase is more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries than in their high-income counterparts. These figures underscore the urgency of addressing the growing global burden of diabetes through heightened awareness, early diagnosis, and proactive health interventions.

Prioritizing Timely Treatment in Diabetes Awareness

A recent Medical News Today article emphasizes the crucial importance of recognizing early signs of type 2 diabetes, enabling timely diagnosis and intervention. Swift action, including appropriate treatment, lifestyle adjustments, and vigilant blood sugar control, holds the potential to significantly enhance an individual’s health, overall quality of life, and mitigate the risk of complications.

Moreover, insights from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases underscore the profound impact of familial factors on diabetes susceptibility. Individuals with a family history face a 2-6 times higher likelihood of developing diabetes. The risk amplifies to approximately 15% with one parent affected and skyrockets to 75% when both parents have type 2 diabetes. Additional risk factors encompass prediabetes, gestational diabetes, being overweight or obese, and belonging to specific ethnic groups such as African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic.

Remarkably, type 2 diabetes exhibits a robust connection to familial lineage, surpassing the link observed in type 1 diabetes. Genetics wield substantial influence in the development of type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the pivotal role of hereditary factors in shaping an individual’s susceptibility to this prevalent health condition. Recognizing these multifaceted risk factors becomes paramount for comprehensive preventive measures, early detection, and effective management strategies.

Informed self-care

In a recent Healthline article, the paramount importance of self-care for individuals with type 2 diabetes is underscored, as a substantial portion of their treatment lies within their own hands. Given the chronic nature of diabetes, continual and proactive care is essential to prevent or mitigate complications. Daily self-care practices play a pivotal role in shaping not only immediate well-being but also long-term health outcomes.

Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) emerge as invaluable tools in this journey, wielding the potential to enhance A1C levels and exert positive influences on various clinical, psychosocial, and behavioral aspects of diabetes. The multifaceted benefits of DSMES encompass not only a reduction in A1C levels but also extend to mitigating hospital admissions, readmissions, and emergency department visits. Furthermore, embracing self-management education aids in alleviating diabetes-related distress and fostering improvements in self-care behaviors.

This holistic approach to diabetes management highlights the profound impact of informed and proactive self-care practices. By empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary for effective self-management, not only can immediate health outcomes be positively influenced, but the risk of long-term complications can also be significantly mitigated. Embracing a comprehensive strategy that incorporates self-care, education, and support stands as a cornerstone in the ongoing battle against the multifaceted challenges posed by type 2 diabetes.

Professor Abdul Basit, Director of Baqai Institute of Diabetology & Endocrinology (BIDE), emphasizes the urgent need to enhance diabetes awareness and education. Complications often remain undetected until they significantly impact an individual’s life. Professor Basit stresses the importance of informed self-care, early detection, and proactive management.

Type 2 diabetes, accounting for over 90% of all diabetes cases, often develops silently, with symptoms going unnoticed. Shockingly, complications are already present in more than 50% of cases when diabetes is diagnosed.

Diabetes Awareness Situation in Pakistan

In Pakistan, where the burden of diabetes-related complications is notably widespread, a disconcerting revelation emerges: a substantial 34% of individuals diagnosed with diabetes did not receive crucial information about potential complications at the time of their diagnosis. This information gap at the outset of the diabetes journey raises significant concerns about the level of awareness and education provided to those grappling with this chronic condition.

Among the reported complications, a prevalent 55% of individuals in Pakistan cite issues related to their feet, underscoring the impact of diabetes on peripheral health. Additionally, 57% report complications affecting their eyes, emphasizing the intricate connection between diabetes and visual health. Furthermore, 53% of individuals note oral health problems, indicating the systemic nature of diabetes-related complications that extend beyond traditional associations.

This data sheds light on the pressing need for comprehensive diabetes education and awareness campaigns in Pakistan. Bridging the information deficit at the time of diagnosis is pivotal in empowering individuals to proactively manage their health, mitigate the risk of complications, and enhance their overall quality of life. By addressing these knowledge gaps, healthcare providers, policymakers, and advocacy groups can collaboratively work towards a more informed and resilient community in the face of the diabetes epidemic.


In conclusion, the findings regarding the awareness and information gaps among individuals living with diabetes in Pakistan underscore the critical need for a concerted effort to enhance education and support within the diabetic community. The stark reality that 34% of individuals do not receive information about potential complications at the time of diagnosis calls for immediate action. It is imperative that healthcare providers, policymakers, and advocacy groups collaborate to implement comprehensive diabetes education programs, ensuring that individuals are equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of this chronic condition from the outset.

The prevalence of complications, particularly in the realms of foot, eye, and oral health, highlights the systemic impact of diabetes on various aspects of well-being. By addressing these issues head-on, we can empower individuals to proactively manage their health, make informed lifestyle choices, and take preventive measures to mitigate the risk of complications.

A holistic approach that integrates early education, continuous support, and community engagement is crucial. Establishing accessible platforms for information dissemination, fostering a culture of regular check-ups, and promoting a proactive mindset toward diabetes management will be pivotal in reshaping the narrative around diabetes in Pakistan. Through collective efforts, we can strive towards a future where individuals living with diabetes are well-informed, resilient, and equipped to lead healthier, fuller lives despite the challenges posed by this prevalent health condition.