The Rise of Diabetes in South Africa

The International Diabetes Federation has just released statistics that indicated that South Africa had 2,28 million diagnosed diabetics in 2015. Over 90% of these patients are Type 2 diabetics, of which the primary driver for disease would be from an excess body weight. It is estimated that more than 80 % of these diabetics would be overweight (BMI> 25) or obese (BMI> 30).

Epidemiological studies are now predicting that the rise of diabetes will place South Africa’s burden of disease at an increase of 20 million by 2040, bringing the estimated amount of diabetics that will need medical care at 34.2 million.

It is very prudent to consider that in order for Type 2 diabetes to go into remission, metabolic surgery (bariatric surgery) will be required. These are largely hormonal operations that will alter gut peptide signalling. In addition 25% -60% of body weight will be lost, depending on the nature of the procedure. Life style behaviour will offer 5-10% weight loss, sustainable in less than 5% of patients over 5 years. As such it is a less than optimal tool to address the possibility of placing diabetes in remission or avoiding complications.

Understanding the value and impact that bariatric surgery will have on diabetes and how these operations can very safely alter their lives so they can live it to the full extend, is something every diabetic needs to explore.

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