14 percent of Maldivian population diabetic

A capture from a health-screening event. (Photo/Damas)

November 14, is annually celebrated as World Diabetes Day. As we mark the occasion, it is important to note that diabetes is one of the most prevalent health issues in the Maldives, with the number of people experiencing the disease increasing day by day.  A quick glance at diabetes-related statistics in the Maldives shows a concerning picture.

In this regard, ‘Step Survey 2020 -2021’ carried out by Health Ministry in collaboration with Maldives National University (MNU) regarding the risk factors for non-communicable diseases show that 14 percent of the Maldivian people are diabetic. Meanwhile, a report publicized by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 shows that 3.7 percent of the deaths in Maldives are linked to diabetes.

Statistics by International Diabetic Foundation (IDF) show that 27,000 people from the elderly population of 404,700 in the Maldives are diabetic. Therewith, 6.7 percent of the elderly population is diabetic.

Blood sugar level testing.

However, diabetes is not only common amongst the elderly. Children, youths and middle-aged people also suffer from diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a common disease across the globe as well – with IDF identifying 537 million people as diabetic.

It is a chronic health condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells which produces insulin, which results in lack, or absence of insulin production thereof. This type of diabetes is childhood-onset.

Type 2 diabetes is adult onset – which is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin, often as result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Diabetes can also be transferred genetically, and can be caused by smoking and increased sugar levels during pregnancy.

Symptoms of diabetes

  •         Frequent urination
  •         Extreme thirst
  •         Extreme hunger
  •         Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  •         Fatigue
  •         Blurred vision

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important steps which can be taken to prevent diabetes. In this regard, having a balanced diet, eating during the correct times and regularly exercising are three of the most important things which can be done. It is important to maintain the right Body Mass Index (BMI). Apart from this, not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can also be helpful.

Two men jog along the ring road of Male' City on June 16, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Similar to other diseases, diabetes can be controlled properly if detected early. Therewith, it is important for every to check their blood sugar levels every once in a while, especially if diabetes is emergent in their families.

There are matters that a person diagnosed with diabetes must pay close attention to as well. In this regard, they must control their blood sugar levels through a strict regime of a healthy lifestyle including a proper diet and exercise. They should have routine checkups and tests as well.

If diabetes is gone without treatment, it could lead to severe health conditions in the future, including damage to other organs. Henceforth, early intervention is extremely important.