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The rising tide of Diabetes in Pakistan

A piece of quite sad news has just struck the internet Pakistan has become the number one country with the highest percentage of the population with diabetes. It is not very surprising as we come across many people of different ages suffering from diabetes. It has become more of a lifestyle than a disease in our country and that is sad. People around us are somewhat becoming aware of it and trying to control it by taking different measures. 

IDF report 2021

In 2021 International Diabetes Federation published a report stating that every one out of four individuals in Pakistan is suffering from diabetes. Since the last report published in 2019, the number of diabetics in Pakistan has risen significantly and in the latest report 33 million people, 70% more than that in 2019, are suffering from diabetes, which makes Pakistan the third largest population of diabetics, preceded by China and India. Another sad part of this report was that around 400k people have lost their lives due to diabetes.

Diabetes prevalence worldwide

The report published by IDF states that 

  • Almost one-tenth of the total population of the world suffers from diabetes making it around 537 million. Out of which 73 million are from the Middle East and North African region. 
  • An 11.3% rise in the diabetic population is predicted by 2030. 
  • Around 240 million cases of diabetes worldwide are still undiagnosed.
  • Excluding the mortalities associated with covid-19, the number of people who died from diabetes has crossed 6M. 

Diabetes Prevalence in Pakistan

In the recent report published by IDF, the stats show that cases of diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate. It has multiplied severalfold in the last year. Besides this another 11 million are on the verge of developing this deadly disease as they are already suffering from impaired glucose tolerance. 

Pakistan tops the list as almost one-third of the total population has diabetes followed by Kuwait having 24.9%. Also almost a quarter of diabetics stay undiagnosed. An article published in 2019 stated that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has the least while  Sindh has the most number of diabetes cases.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a condition in which the body fails to make enough insulin or it fails to work sufficiently which results in high blood sugar levels. 

Causes of diabetes

The common causes of diabetes prevalence in Pakistan include

  • People not having enough knowledge of symptoms and control of diabetes.
  • The lower middle class has limited access to hospitals, medicines, and other diabetes care equipment. 
  • Lack of physical activity also contributes to poor control of blood sugar levels and worsening of diabetes.
  • Unhealthy dietary patterns are the sole contributor to diabetes. 
  • Some people inherit diabetes from their parents too but it can be controlled. 
  • Besides these stress, pancreas damage and obesity are also leading causes of diabetes. 

How to control diabetes

Diabetes can be controlled by making a few lifestyle alterations. 

  • Limit refined sugars in your diet.
  • Take 3 major and three minor meals. This way you can prevent hypo as well as hyperglycemia.
  • Whole grains must be your choice.
  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetable salad. 
  • Stay active and do running, walking, or any exercise to control your blood sugar levels. 
  • Educating the population about diabetes and its consequences. 
  • Making medicine available for people of all economic classes.
  • Establishing diabetes care centers in all areas including rural and interior provinces. 


The recent news of Pakistan topping the list of countries with people suffering from diabetes is circulating nowadays. In Pakistan, almost 27% of the total population is diabetic which equals almost 33 million people. Moreover, around 400,000 people have lost their lives due to this deadly and silent disease in the previous year. All of this information is alarming and measures are to be taken at individual and state level. Diabetes is not hard to control and can be managed by eating a healthy diet accompanied by physical activity. People are however becoming aware but there is still room for more education. Let us all play our roles in that.

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