By ILONA ANDREW
PENAMPANG: As disheartening as it may sound, diabetes is not an individual’s problem; it also affects the whole family.
Sabah Health Department Director Datuk Dr. Christina Rundi said, while environmental and lifestyle components may be among the strong factors of diabetes, the silent killer disease also tends to run in the gene.
“Family members tend to go about their life very similarly where they live the same lifestyle and have the same food consumption.
“When one of them has diabetes, the others too would have a very chance of getting it. Therefore, a crucial role must be taken by the family in diabetes care and prevention,” she told reporters during the State-level World Diabetes Day held at Buhavan Square, Donggongon on Thursday.
At the same time, she said a family’s support can make a significant difference in how an individual copes with diabetes a lifetime illness, which is very important.
“Diabetes has no cure; we can only control it. Sometimes medical treatment might not be optimum which may cause complications like vision and kidney problems. With these complications, quality family time is important for those diagnosed with diabetes,” she stressed.
Christina also urged the public to take the opportunity to go for health screening which can be done in any clinic or health programmes conducted by the Health Department.
Those who receive aids under the Peka B40 scheme can also go to any clinic with the B40 sign or sticker to go for health screening.
On another note, the health department director disclosed that more and more individuals under the age of 18 are diagnosed with diabetes nowadays.
This she said is mostly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle where children, unlike during the olden days, do not go out for outdoor activities anymore due to the influence of advancing technology such as gadgets. Fast food consumption is also one of the factors.
Earlier while delivering her speech, Christina revealed that the prevalence of diabetes in the state is alarming with approximately 252,000 people above the age of 18 diagnosed in 2015, as opposed to about 165,000 four years ago.
Just like last year, the theme for the 2019 World Diabetes Day is “Family and Diabetes” which intends to raise awareness on the impact of diabetes on the sufferers’ family and support networks to promote crucial role of the family in diabetes care and prevention.