Stroke among top three biggest killers

Diabetes Fiji chairperson Taabish Akbar and CWM hospital surgeon Dr Eddie McCaig at the press conference. Picture: ATU RASEA

THREE of the highest contributors to Fiji’s mortality rate have been identified as coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Apart from diabetes, which claims about 1700 lives annually in Fiji, coronary heart disease is the second highest contributor, claiming 1454 Fijian lives annually.

This was revealed by Diabetes Fiji chairman Taabish Akbar, who also confirmed that 663 lives were lost to stroke every year while as many as 482 deaths were recorded annually for kidney disease in the country.

Mr Akbar said there was a need to change our eating habits and lifestyles to be a healthier nation.

He said Fiji’s life expectancy was listed as 69.9 years for the average person, which doesn’t come favourably to our nearby neighbours namely Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand.

“We must note that a lot of deaths are not at advanced ages, but we have diabetes-related deaths occurring in the 20s and 30s as well,” he said.

Mr Akbar said the most relevant issue was that diabetes could be controlled.

“We need to determine the number of pre-diabetics and diabetics in the country and also those at high risk of developing this deadly disease,” he said.

Mr Akbar said there were no available statistics of pre-diabetics in Fiji mainly because diabetic patients do not get screened to determine where on the scale we are at present.

“If this group can be identified, we can make a huge difference and try to intervene early to try and delay or stop the onset of diabetes.”

Mr Akbar said for a country renowned for its sporting prowess, it was indeed shocking that we were the most susceptible to a disease which was usually related to inactivity and bad eating habits.

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