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World Diabetes Day: Older people mobilised in Kyrgyzstan

23 Nov 2015

Older man in Kyrgyzstan has blood test for diabetes

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly on the agenda of countries across the world, as more and more they become the cause of premature death and disability.

The World Health Organization has called on all member states to develop policies addressing chronic disease prevention and control, with a particular emphasis on cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.

In Kyrgyzstan, NCDs are the main cause of disability, morbidity and premature mortality. Cardiovascular diseases, account for half of deaths, according to the Republican Medical Information Centre.

Across NCDs, there are common risk factors and therefore, common opportunities for prevention, namely related to lifestyle, such as tobacco use, diet, alcohol intake and physical activity. Each can influence weight, blood pressure, and other contributing factors that lead to these conditions.

World Diabetes Day

The number of people worldwide with diabetes has become an epidemic, growing to 371 million and steadily increasing. By 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), it will increase to 552 million.

Age is a key diabetes risk factor as it causes disturbances to insulin secretion and enhancement of insulin resistance.

In Kyrgyzstan the number of patients with diabetes has grown from 25,338 in 2006 to 47,745 in 2015, according to the Ministry of Health.

Older people in Kyrgyzstan march to raise awareness of diabetes on World Diabetes Day (c) HelpAge International

World Diabetes Day on 14 November is an important flash point to raise awareness of the risks of diabetes and promote healthy lifestyles. We took the opportunity to mobilise older people here in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek.

Older men and women met with the representatives of the Ministry of Health, Department of Health of Bishkek and doctors in the State History Museum. They demanded improvements to the prevention and treatment of diabetes among older people, and for there to be a formal strategy to tackle the diabetes issue in Kyrgyzstan. Some 250 older people had their blood pressure and glucose levels tested while in the museum too.

Older people did physical exercise to highlight ways to help prevent diabetes. The exercises included dancing and a march in the square outside the State History Museum, which ended with the release of a blue circle of balloons representing the global symbol of the IDF.

Local and national TV, radio and newspaper covered the events and the whole day was a huge success, bringing people out in spite of what was quite miserable weather.

Man interviewed on World Diabetes Day (c) HelpAge International

Following on from World Diabetes Day, we will soon be launching a short film on diabetes in Kyrgyzstan. So watch this space!

Healthy living and diabetes: getting breakfast right

This year's theme for World Diabetes Day related to healthy living, with a particular focus on starting each day right by having a wholesome breakfast.

A healthy breakfast keeps blood sugar levels normal and should keep you full through to lunch. While cereal and toast may be cheap, they typically raise blood sugar levels rapidly and may leave you hungry again before lunch. You should also try to cut down on juice, or even better stop drinking it altogether and opt for eating fruit instead.

Find out more:

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Author profile

Nurdin Satarov
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Job title: Programme Manager

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.