Diabetes Type 2 a Leading Cause of Death in the Western Cape
“I want to scare you, no, I need to scare you, because not enough people realise that about 6% of our population suffers from diabetes, and that’s just the ones that have been diagnosed. It takes an average of seven years for a person to get diagnosed with diabetes for the first time and the sad fact according to the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology is that 30% of people with type 2 diabetes have already developed complications by the time they are diagnosed.
"Since I have been diagnosed, several of my closest friends have been diagnosed with the disease and some of them have lost their lives. I am finally writing this article in the hope that I can save your life. I am Emerantia Cupido and I am a diabetic.”
These are the closing words of an open letter that Ms Cupido, a Western Cape Government Health employee, has written in an effort to alert people about the dangers of diabetes type 2.
"Diabetes type 2 is one of the leading causes of death in the Western Cape. It forms part of the group of mostly avoidable illnesses referred to as diseases of lifestyle that include hypertension (high blood pressure) and illnesses related to smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet. Diabetes type 2 can often be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making educated choices about one’s health. These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, eating fresh fruit and vegetables daily, drinking lots of water and avoiding high fat, high salt foods such as deep fried potatoes and fatty meats.
It is important to remember that should you develop diabetes type 2, it needs to be managed through, correction of lifestyle, correct medication taken at the right time and regular visits to your clinic. Complications such as kidney problems, heart disease, amputations due to circulatory problems and strokes are common in the diabetic patients who are not managing their diet and taking their medication as prescribed.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: “I admire Ema for telling her story. It speaks to our call to people to take responsibility for their health. Take responsibility for your health. Have your blood sugar tested. Ema is the reason why, with the financial support of the private sector, we are introducing annual health check-ups for all people in the Western Cape. Early detection is the answer to an improved health outcome, and a healthier society. Follow Ema’s example.”
Western Cape Government Health urges members of the public to visit their clinic and ask to have your glucose (sugar) levels tested, should they be experiencing any or all of the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination – especially visiting the toilet during the night
- Increased thirst – Do you always feel thirsty, and are you drinking a lot more water than you normally would?
- Increased hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
These symptoms may not all occur together, which makes it difficult to diagnose diabetes and why people should have their blood glucose tested regularly.
If you are currently overweight and are finding it difficult to change your lifestyle please visit your closest health facility or doctor and visit the following websites for tips on changing your life for the better.
To download a free recipe book with diabetic-friendly traditional recipes and other tips on changing your lifestyle for the better visit www.ichange4health.co.za