If you look on any diabetes website from the USA, you’ll see that they have facts and figures up about how many people with diabetes there are in the country, what kind of diabetes they have (Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes), where they live and what kind of age, race, and family history they have. This information is obviously very useful both in helping people to deal with diabetes on a day-to-day basis, and in finding a cure for diabetes.
In South Africa, though, we know very little about the people who have diabetes in our country.
- According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) the estimated number of people with diabetes in South Africa is around 840 000, but other studies say there may be as many as 1.5 million diabetics.
- The World Diabetes Foundation says that in developing countries (like South Africa), less than half of people with diabetes are diagnosed. Without diagnosis and treatment, complications from diabetes rise at an alarming rate. This same foundation says that 85% of those with diabetes in South Africa are undiagnosed!
- Most at risk of developing diabetes in South Africa are the black community because of rapid lifestyle and cultural changes, and people of Indian descent because of their hereditary genes and diet.
- 90% of people with diabetes in South Africa have Type 2 diabetes; 10% have Type 1 diabetes.
- And, most scary of all, in South Africa 1 in 5 people over the age of 35 have type 2 diabetes; more that 50% are unaware of this.
That’s one of the reasons we wanted to start this Sweet Life community: to provide a space for all people with diabetes in South Africa to come together so that we can start spreading the word about the condition. We also want to know where all these 840 000 diabetics in South Africa are – how they’re living, what kind of diabetes they have, who they are! So if you’re reading this and you have diabetes, or you know someone who has diabetes, or you work with people who have diabetes, please sign up to join our community, and ask them to do the same. Just click here!
If we work together, we can fill in this big question mark about diabetes in South Africa.