Dr Zara Quail MBChB (UCT)
Health News

Happy World Diabetes Day, NOT! (But there is hope!)

So the 14th of November is World Diabetes Day. According to the WHO, more than “346 million people worldwide have diabetes”.(1) Estimates predict that this number is “likely to more than double by 2030”. Nearly 80% of deaths due to diabetes are in low- and middle-income countries like South Africa and India.(1)  The fact we even need day recognising the huge rates of diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes, is sad given that most cases of Type 2 Diabetes are entirely preventable through adoption of the correct lifestyle and eating habits. In fact even people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have been able to reverse the effects of the disease by changing the way they eat and live.  

A major factor is that high-carb, nutrient-deficient foods and drinks that are consumed in “supersized” quantities are contributing to obesity one of the main risk factors for diabetes. While early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is essential, the pre-cursor to Type 2 diabetes, also known as “pre-diabetes”, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance syndrome can be easily diagnosed by having your fasting blood glucose, waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good) cholesterol measured. Tests called the HbA1C, glucose tolerance test, fasting insulin and 2 hour insulin are good tests to check for insulin resistance. By recognising a pattern of insulin resistance in your own body, you can make the right lifestyle and eating changes, before diabetes takes hold. Start with your waist, if it is more than 94cm in a man (more than 90cm in an Asian man) and more than 80cm in a woman, you should have a check-up with your doctor.(2)


1.    World Health Organisation. World Diabetes Day. 2012. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/annual/world_diabetes_day/en/index.html

2.    European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, Reiner Z, Catapano AL, De Becker G, et al; ESC Committee for Practice Guidelines (CPG) 2008-2010 and 2010-2012 Committees. ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: the Task Force for the management of dyslipidaemias of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS). Eur Heart J. 2011 Jul;32(14):1769-818. Epub 2011 Jun 28. Available at: http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/32/14/1769.full