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Friday, December 8, 2023

Diabetes screening sees an increase

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The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has seen an increase in the number of people older than 40 years who visit facilities for diabetes screening.


However, there was a downturn in screening for those in the age group 18-39. No surprise then that the number of persons diagnosed also declined.


Diabetes screening


During National Diabetes Month, City Health is encouraging residents to make sure they don’t become a statistic. November is National Diabetes Month, while 14 November is World Diabetes Day.

The number of persons diagnosed also declined


South Africa has, in the last year, adopted a robust strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including the following targets by 2027:


  • 90% of people over the age of 18 will know whether or not they have raised blood sugar or blood pressure
  • 60% of people over the age of 18 who have raised blood sugar or blood pressure will be on treatment
  • 50% of people over the age of 18 who are on treatment for raised blood sugar or blood pressure will be controlled.


Hypertension and diabetes


The Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross says:


“These targets make it clear that all adults need to be alert to the risk of diseases like hypertension and diabetes. In recent years, it’s become apparent that more young people are being affected, so the notion that these are illnesses for older persons has been comprehensively squashed.”


She added that while City clinics have seen a gradual increase in screening for diabetes among younger age groups, there was a dip in the last financial year – one that can be ill-afforded.


Van der Ross has appealed to those in the city under the age of 40 years, to once more, get back in line.  The earlier a health condition is detected, the sooner you can start treatment and make the required lifestyle changes to improve your health outlook.


Screening for diabetes


A fingerprick blood sugar test together with a urinary dipstick can be done at all City Health Community Day Centres, free of charge, and results are available on the same day.


MORE ABOUT: South Africa needs an urgent, coordinated response to the exploding 

A fasting blood sugar test can be organised for confirmation if needed. If you screen positive for diabetes, you will also be screened for associated conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors at the same visit.


Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes can cause serious complications, including:


  • Visual problems, including blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Non-healing foot ulcers often end in amputation
  • And death


Common diabetes symptoms include:
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Pins and needles or altered sensation hands and feet
  • Recurrent opportunistic infections
  • Delayed healing for small wounds/cuts


Treatment can consist of tablets, insulin, or a combination of both, and may include tablets for primary or secondary prevention depending on your other risk factors.


READ MORE: Health commemorates World Diabetes Day

Early and aggressive control of diabetes has been proven to improve outcomes.


Diet and lifestyle changes are an important part of care and play a role in prevention.


For more information visit your nearest clinic.


Alternatively visit your nearest City library, for free access to resources such as books and SmartCape WiFi.



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