Turkish parents struggle to spot diabetes in their children
According to the Diabetes Foundation of Turkey, 15 percent of Turkish adults are suffering from diabetes, while one in three diabetics are not aware they have the disease.
Despite the majority of people surveyed (70 percent) having a family member with diabetes, an alarming four-in-five parents (82 percent) have trouble recognizing the warning signs, said the IDF, adding that one-in-four (28 percent) would not recognize them at all.
The IDF is an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories.
To mark diabetes awareness month and World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, the IDF has urged families to learn more about the warning signs of diabetes that can include excessive thirst, frequent urination, a lack of energy, blurred vision, slow healing wounds and numbness in the feet and/or hands.
The IDF said the findings underline the need for education and awareness to help people spot the warning signs of diabetes early.
Four-in-five adults across the globe failed to correctly identify the warning signs of diabetes in the IDF study.
Left untreated or unmanaged, diabetes can lead to life-changing complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes was responsible for four million deaths in 2017 across the globe.
In a statement to mark Diabetes Day, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the government is determined to fight the disease.
“Family physicians will screen high risk groups within the population to identify patients. Those diagnosed with diabetes will be referred to health centers and be monitored,” Koca added.
The minister also said campaigns would be launched to raise awareness among the families regarding the dangers of diabetes.
“Families suffering from the disease will be supported,” he said.
The Health Ministry’s “Turkey Diabetes Program 2015-2010” was designed to prevent and effectively fight the disease.
According to the minister, as part of the program, a total of 850 doctors, nurses, dieticians have received in-house training regarding obesity and diabetes.
Last year, 3,823 people attended a separate program in 12 provinces to learn about the disease. In the first six months of 2018, 1,651 people in 12 provinces took part in this particular education program.
Koca also said the “Diabetes at School Program,” carried out jointly with the Education Ministry and the Diabetes Association to raise awareness among school children, would continue.
As part of the events to mark World Diabetes Day, diabetes patients, their families and doctors took the famous Eastern Express to travel from the capital Ankara to the eastern province of Kars.
The 1,300-kilometer journey took some 25 hours to complete.
“The families developed friendships and exchanged their experiences along the journey,” said Ergun Çetinkaya, a pediatrician and pediatric endocrinologist.
He noted that they have organized such activities before with patients and their families.