10 Oct
2018
The Start -with the MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo - KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

Diabetes is known as the tsunami of the 21st century, killing more people worldwide than AIDS and cancer combined, and yet, people know so little about this serious condition.

As most people only begin to look after their health when they have a scare and are forced to drastically stem their intake of fast food and begin exercising, the Durban Wellness Festival, supported by SASA, Lily and Clover Tropika Slenda, as well as the Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward, has been created to show people that they can make positive changes before it is too late.

The Durban Wellness Festival takes place on Sunday, November 11, 2018. It is a celebration of all things healthy, with a 5km fun run/walk,  music, Zumba Bollywood Style, Yoga and a Yoga Laughter Session and an expo that not only aims to raise awareness about the scourge of diabetes in South Africa but also to encourage people to look after the one thing that money cannot buy – their health.

One of the aims of the walk is to encourage regular exercise, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable, reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases and improves one’s general well-being. The Wellness Expo provides the opportunity for the public to have their blood pressure, blood sugar, eyes and feet tested on the day. It also comprises exhibitors from pharmaceutical, health, fitness and nutrition companies to expose the public to a variety of products to improve or maintain good health.

Taking place at the Durban Amphitheatre at the Bay of Plenty, the Durban Wellness Festival 5km fun walk will open for registration at 7am, at just R60 per person, and officially kicks off at 8am sharp with the cut-off at 10am. The event lucky draw prizes take place thereafter from 10.15am. “It’s a fantastic event, which brings people together for one common cause – the fight against diabetes!” says Jenny Russell, the Durban branch manager of Diabetes South Africa, “Our main objective is to bring diabetes into the spotlight, in the hope that it gains the recognition it deserves, instead of remaining in the shadow of HIV, AIDS and Cancer.”

More than 85% of South Africans use the public healthcare system. Although 1.3 million state patients have diabetes in KZN, there is only one physician per 100,000 residents. “Little or no diabetes education is available in the state system due to lack of funds and staff, and with only TWO podiatrists to serve all these state patients, it is no wonder that there are 6 amputations per day in KZN – totally unacceptable. This is what the Durban Wellness Festival is trying to change, to increase the education on diabetes” said Russell.

When you have diabetes, your body is either unable to make enough insulin, or it is unable to correctly use the insulin it does make. As a result, the glucose in your bloodstream cannot move into your cells to be used as energy and thus creates a build-up, resulting in high glucose levels.

Damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels is irreversible. Diabetes has been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, lower limb amputations, sexual dysfunction as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Worldwide, 425 million people have been diagnosed as diabetic as opposed to 35 million patients with HIV and 14 million with cancer. Every six seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes. Every 10 seconds two people develop diabetes and every 30 seconds, a lower limb is amputated worldwide due to diabetes related complications.

What is most startling, according to Russell, is that statistics show that at least 50 percent of those with diabetes are unaware of their condition. “That means that those numbers are, in reality far higher. In some countries this figure may reach 80%. We have between 3 and 3.5 million diagnosed diabetics in South Africa. We also have an estimated 1.5 undiagnosed diabetics and approximately 1.5 to 2 million pre-diabetics in South Africa.”

Children are also not immune. Worldwide, every year, 70000 children under the age of 15 develop Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children is becoming a global public health issue with potentially serious outcomes. Thirty percent of children born since the year 2000 are expected to become diabetic if lifestyle changes are not made.

95 percent of all diabetics are type 2 with 90 percent of all complications experienced by type 2 diabetics. “What is so frustrating is that most of this is preventable if people eat healthy foods and exercise. Hence, it is important to get the message out there and to continually try to educate people to make good lifestyle choices for both themselves and their families,” she concludes.

All proceeds generated from the 5km fun run/walk is going towards Diabetes SA Durban.

Please note that this organisation is a self-funding organisation and does not receive any form of government funding, and all proceeds raised go back into the education of this dreaded condition within KZN.

The Wellness Expo is free for the public to attend.

For further information about this event, or you wish to exhibit, please contact Pat Bonini on 031-2012169 during office hours or email:mw.nerve@mweb.co.za

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