Some 10.3 per cent of the population in Cyprus has diabetics, roughly the same as in other European countries, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Wednesday.
He was speaking on the occasion of World Diabetes Day which is marked every year on November 14.
Responding to this year’s theme Diabetes and the Family, the minister said that diabetes concerned every family.
“That’s why we all need to be sensitised and properly informed, so that each of us, from our own position, can help prevent and diagnose the disease early.”
One of the priorities of the World Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development is the reduction of premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, Ioannou explained.
Adopting these objectives and international guidelines, the ministry is currently studying a proposal to upgrade diabetes treatment and include new drugs.
“At the same time, with the continuous training of healthcare professionals and with the day-to-day operation of diabetes clinics in public hospitals, we aim at the correct assessment, early diagnosis and treatment of our patients,” the minister said.
He said that the diabetes clinics operating in the public hospitals are now staffed by medical officers and nurses who have received specialised training in the most up-to-date treatments and are able to offer the patients the appropriate therapies.
In the diabetes clinic of Makarios hospital, glucose monitoring devices have been installed to record sugar levels and assist in assessing each child and adjusting individual treatment regimens.
Diabetes is a rapidly developing disease which has become a major public health issue in recent years. The International Diabetes Foundation estimated that over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet, and the promotion of healthy living environments.
One in 2 people currently living with diabetes is undiagnosed. Most cases are type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent the complications of diabetes and achieve healthy outcomes.
“The main reason for concern is its impact on the sufferers themselves, but also on health systems in general. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes causes serious illnesses to the individual and reduces life expectancy by about eight years while being economically unprofitable for healthcare systems,” the health minister said.
“The message to all is: diabetes concerns every family, but it is up to us not to let it into ours.”