November is World Diabetes month and South Africans are being encouraged to get tested. Across the country, people will be able to visit clinics and participating pharmacies to get tested for free.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were 1,826,100 cases of diabetes in South Africa in 2017. The prevalence of diabetes in South African adults is 5.4%.

The disease, in which a person has high blood sugar levels, has become an epidemic the world over. It is one of the leading causes of death in South Africa, and accounted for approximately 5.5% of natural deaths between 2015 and 2017, reports Cape Talk.

However, most people do not even know they have it. Sweet Life,  an NPO diabetes community for Diabetic South Africans, states that one in two people with diabetes is undiagnosed in South Africa.

The disease can lead to a number of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage and blindness to name a few.

There are a number of risk factors that can cause diabetes depending on the type. The most common risk factors are family history, being overweight with an unhealthy lifestyle, and high blood pressure.

The five most common symptoms of diabetes are:

– extreme hunger

– extreme thirst

– excessive need to urinate

– exhaustion

– blurry vision

In honour of World Diabetes Month, various pharmacies and clinics in South Africa are encouraging people to take the first step toward a healthy life by getting tested. Free clinics and participating pharmacies will be offering free diabetes testing for the month of November.

Make sure to contact your local pharmacy to hear if they are offering free tests.


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