Zahida Bibi is 65 years old and has been living with diabetes since she was 45.
For years, she didn't know that she had the disease. "I felt tired and dizzy all the time. I also had trouble remembering things and had to urinate a lot," she recalls.
The first time Zahida consulted a doctor at a local hospital, she was mistakenly told that her blood test was normal. After that, Zahida ignored her symptoms for eight long years before seeking medical advice again, this time in Islamabad where she has since moved with her family.
A second blood test finally confirmed diabetes. The doctor prescribed insulin and Zahida started feeling better after her first injection.
As is often true for people living with diabetes, Zahida developed serious complications that could have been avoided. She didn't seek treatment for an ulcer on her foot and as a result, one of her legs was amputated below the knee.
"The doctor told me that it was connected with diabetes and that I waited too long to seek attention."
Zahida holds the local hospital responsible for not spotting the raised blood glucose in the first place. But she also knows she should have reported the lesion on her foot to her doctor much sooner.
Today, with the help of her family, Zahida is slowly recovering at home from the physical and emotional effects of surgery.
Like other chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes — and many of the complications of diabetes that can lead to amputation — can be prevented.
More than three-quarters of diabetes-related deaths occur in low and middle income countries.