Health-e News: Diabetes moves up the Killer Charts
Women are the most vulnerable to diseases that thrive when a person is too fat. But “fat shaming” individuals won’t help when junk food is cheaper than healthy food and health education is virtually non-existent. HEALTH-E’s Kerry Cullinan reports.
The new killer in town preys on older, overweight women from poor communities. It has been moving stealthily through the population, its influence under-estimated as our attention has been focused on HIV and tuberculosis.
But suddenly diabetes has emerged as the biggest killer of South African women and the second biggest killer overall, according to 2015 death statistics released recently by Statistics South Africa.
Seven years before this, diabetes was not even in the Top 10 killers. But now it is second only to TB.
Clinics are being overwhelmed by cases of diabetes and hypertension, both linked to bad diet and being too fat. By late last year, public health facilities were seeing more than 15,000 new cases of diabetes and close to 25,000 new hypertension cases every month, according to the health department’s District Health Information System (DHIS).
There are now over eight-million obese people in South Africa, far outnumbering the six-million South Africans living with HIV.
Many people on antiretroviral (ARV) medicine are also on medication for diabetes and hypertension, yet not enough research has been done on how all the medication interacts.
At one Cape Town clinic, three-quarters of the ARV patients were also on hypertension medicine, according to Professor Tolu Oni from the University of Cape Town.
KwaZulu-Nat Continue reading