With one in five Sri Lankans afflicted with diabetes and the numbers rapidly rising, the disease has now reached epidemic proportions in the country. The Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka (DASL), states that more and more young people are being affected, making it imperative that serious steps are taken to reduce the risk of diabetes while access to comprehensive patient care remains vital.
Serving the healthcare sector for over three decades, the Asiri Group of Hospitals recently launched a complete diabetes care programme at its new ultra-modern Asiri Diabetes Centre located at Asiri Medical Hospitals.
The Asiri Diabetes Centre uses a multi-disciplinary approach in diabetes care with a management programme supporting patients through screening, advise on prevention and detailed treatment options. Additionally, other related issues such as diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy are assessed and treated.
“The goal of this Centre is to assist patients living with diabetes but causing the least impact on the quality of their lives,” Dr. Samanthi De Silva, Administrative Head, Asiri Diabetes Centre.
“We believe prevention is better than cure. We encourage the detection of diabetes early, especially if there is a history of the disease amongst family members. We can educate patients and assist them in making the lifestyle changes required to manage the condition and provide necessary treatment to delay the onset of complications. A diabetic with a well-controlled diet and regular exercise can lead a perfectly normal life,” Dr. de Silva added.
“With our progression toward being a developed country, newly adopted lifestyles, food and dietary habits are all precipitating factors leading to a higher prevalence of diabetes. In Sri Lanka the clinical practiced guidelines for diabetes state that any individual over 35 years should screen for diabetes,” she explained.
The Centre offers basic and advanced screening packages, follow-up and specialised services, foot care and eye clinics, counseling, and nutrition education. Basic screening packages include a consultation with a doctor, physical examination, measuring of the patient’s blood pressure, weight, height, calculating body mass index, etc. and patients are counseled on long term management of diabetes. Also screening for complications of the disease is carried out.
The Centre urges diabetic patients to be conscious of performing routine screenings to reduce or prevent the onset of complications. Dr. de Silva noted, “If you are a diabetic regardless of your age, you should have regular screenings. It is of utmost importance, because today we see a lot of patients who have complications due to neglect.”
Elaborating on the significance of early intervention and appropriate treatment, the Centre aims to reduce the onset of diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage. Through Digital Retinal Photography (DRP), the Centre detect early changes in the eye caused when diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the retina.Similarly, appropriate management of foot care including foot abnormalities and foot ulcerations is collated and reviewed.
Diabetes is a common disease, yet every individual needs unique care. The Asiri Diabetes Centre encourages people with diabetes and their families to learn as much as possible about the latest medical therapies and approaches, as well as healthy lifestyle choices. Good communication with a team of experts can help patients feel in control and respond to changing needs.Many people with diabetes live long and healthful lives.