HelpAge International in Kyrgyzstan has helped to put on a series of events to mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November.
Events in the capital Bishkek, included a mass exercise session for the public to raise awareness of the importance of keeping physically active to stay healthy.
HelpAge International 2010
People’s glucose level before and after the exercise session was then tested to highlight the importance of exercise as a way of controlling diabetes by reducing sugar content in the blood.
Blue measuring tapes were also given out to all those present to highlight the correlation between waist size and the risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes affects millions of older people
The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases over the age of 40 and affects millions of older people.
More than 240 million people live with diabetes and this is expected to increase and reach 400 million by 2025.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, the prevalence of diabetes in Kyrgyzstan, among people aged between 20 and 79, will grow from 4.3% in 2003 to 5.8% in 2025.
HelpAge International 2010
For this reason, HelpAge International has been working on a diabetes project with other organisations in the Kyrgyz Republic to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes and to try and prevent diabetes among risk groups – primarily older people.
The project began in January and includes:
- giving older people the skills to prevent and control the consequences of diabetes
- improving access to health care for older diabetics
- protection the rights of people living with diabetes
- putting on awareness raising events about diabetes and its risk factors.
Nurdin Satarov, HelpAge's project manager on prevention and treatment of diabetes, said: "This is the first time we have been involved in this World Diabetes Day event which involves older people with diabetes and people who know little about the disease.
"An event on this level increases awareness with the government and general public about diabetes and its associated problems.
"Older people received a lot of knowledge about diabetes at the conference and could determine their blood glucose level which will help them to monitor and control their disease and show good models of behavior to their peers.
"Events like this not only increase the responsibility of decision makers to help but they also empower older people to be in control of their own lives."
Diabetes is a disease characterised by an increase of sugar in the blood and affects the metabolism because of a lack of the hormone insulin in the body.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. The latter is hereditary and affects, as a rule, people over 40. The disease can lead to dangerous complications for patients as heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and gangrene.
HelpAge's diabetes project is run with Danish Church Aid, Diabetes Association of Kyrgyzstan, the Resource Center for the Elderly and ADRA Kyrgyzstan and is financially supported by the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA).