WORLD Diabetes Day was commemorated on November 14 under the theme “The Family and Diabetes”.According to Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, kill millions of people worldwide, and have reached epidemic proportions in South Africa and worldwide. He also touched on the fact that not many people are aware that if they have diabetes, it also affects their immune system, which has an impact on other diseases, such as tuberculosis.“Diabetes mellitus was the second leading cause of death in the country, according to a 2013 Statistics South Africa report. Yet, Diabetes is one of those diseases that could be significantly reduced, with millions of lives saved through the reduction of risk factors, early detection and timely treatment,” he said.Dhlomo said diabetes can be controlled through lifestyle changes, such as desisting from excessive consumption of fat and sugar, smoking, alcohol abuse, and bad dietary choices. “We therefore urge you to help us encourage our fellow compatriots to get involved in regular exercise, adopt healthy lifestyles, and eat properly,” said the minister.Hillcrest resident Zodwa Gumede, who has diabetes, shared her experience with living with the disease with the Fever, saying it is not something that one can get used to in a few days because it is a lifestyle. “I had to change a lot of things because I had to make sure that my blood sugar never goes down, which requires me to always eat on time, and healthy food for that matter,” she explained.“Sometimes I would forget to take the pill at the designated time that I’m supposed to because as I wasn’t used to it.“When I used to visit the clinic, the nurses always stressed that I need to set an alarm to always remind me to take my medication on time,” Gumede said. However, a few months after starting treatment, she said she finally got used to it and lived like any other person without any fear of getting ill for not taking her medication.“You can exercise, eat properly and live a healthy lifestyle but you will not get better if you don’t take your medication correctly and the right amount of dosage that you need to take,” said the resident.Gumede further said having to always make sure that her blood sugar levels are constant is still one of that challenges she faces daily because she sometimes eats late when she’s busy working. “I’m a hairdresser and I can’t leave a client unattended with a relaxer on their heads because they will get burnt,” she said.In conclusion, she advised those who don’t have diabetes to please take care of themselves by making healthy lifestyle choices and to live a good life.“Look after yourselves and you will live a better life. “Diabetes may be controllable but ‘prevention is better than cure’,” she concluded.