In the lead up to World Diabetes Day on November 14, one of the country’s leading private healthcare providers, Netcare, has put its weight behind the Changing Diabetes Cycle Relay.
Several well known South African brands including key sponsor, Novo Nordisk, The City of Johannesburg and the Western Cape Government have also lent their wholehearted support to this worthy initiative which aims to raise awareness for diabetes, a disease which impacts approximately 6% of the South African population. This annual initiative will also raise funds for children living with diabetes.
According to Mande Toubkin, general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment at Netcare, 16 cyclists riding in teams of four will participate in the relay, which will start on 6 November in Johannesburg winding its way through Sandton, Soweto, Parktown and the Johannesburg CBD, Potchefstroom and Kimberley until it ends up in Cape Town on 8 November.
“Netcare and emergency services provider, Netcare 911, have come on board as the emergency services sponsor of this much anticipated cycling event and will be providing an ambulance as well as a team of paramedics to help keep the cyclists in tip top shape throughout the relay,” she adds.
“The Changing Diabetes Cycle Relay is a physically demanding and extremely tough challenge and Netcare is dedicated to making sure that participants are all closely monitored and provided with world-class emergency medical care and in-hospital care should this become necessary,” asserts Toubkin. Netcare’s involvement in the event also extends to the company’s commitment to decreasing the prevalence of diabetes by helping to raise awareness and educating people about the causes and best ways of preventing this escalating disease.
Diabetes a fast growing problem in SA
According to Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of Netcare, “Approximately three-and-a-half million South Africans have diabetes mellitus, a fast-growing problem in South Africa, caused by either a lack of insulin or poor uptake of insulin by the body. It is estimated that another five million South Africans have pre-diabetes, which is a condition where insulin resistance causes blood glucose levels to be abnormally high, and can damage the body over time, and ultimately lead to diabetes.”
Dr Laubscher adds that uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health complications including blindness, amputations, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke, which are not only devastating for the individuals affected but also put pressure on healthcare systems. “The disease is reaching epidemic proportions and there is a definite need for greater awareness and education campaigns about the disease as many people remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated,” she cautions.
”What’s more, up to 80% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and increasing physical activity. Exercise is important in controlling blood-sugar levels, strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress levels, all of which are vital factors in the management of diabetes” adds Dr Laubscher.
A frequent need to urinate, excessive thirst, increased appetite, ongoing fatigue, weight loss and blurred vision are some of the symptoms of diabetes. “It is worth having a basic screening test done by your doctor or pharmacist if you notice even just one of these symptoms. Should the screening test show an abnormal result, a fasting test and other related tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis,” explains Dr Laubscher.
According to Toubkin, free diabetes screening and testing has been incorporated into the relay programme to encourage people to become more aware and also to make informed decisions about their lifestyle choices. “With appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes, people living with this chronic condition can live long, productive and healthy lives. Initiatives such as the Changing Diabetes Cycle Relay are key in creating positive change in South Africa and in decreasing the prevalence of the disease. Netcare is proud to be a sponsor of this worthy cause,” concludes Toubkin.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare and Netcare 911
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick and Jillian Penaluna
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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