In commemoration of World Diabetes Day, Medical Expert Sheds Light on Disorder 

Tosin Clegg 

November 14, is designated World Diabetes Day. The essence is to create awareness on diabetes mellitus among healthcare workers, people living with the condition, their families and the community. 

The campaign underscores the fact that diabetes is everyone’s business; it affects everyone one way, or another. This year, the theme is ‘Access to diabetes education’.

According to Doctor Chinyere Udo, a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Evercare Hospital Lekki she states that, “Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder that occurs when the body either cannot produce sufficient insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which allows the body’s cells to utilize or store glucose produced from digestion of food.

“Deficiency of this hormone, results in persistently elevated blood glucose levels, the hallmark of diabetes. Diabetes, especially when poorly controlled, is associated with severe complications leading to limitation in quality of life or death. Diabetes complications include increased susceptibility to infections, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations. While diabetes may affect anyone, certain persons – obese persons, individuals with sedentary lifestyle, those with a family history of diabetes and women with a history of giving birth to large babies – have a higher risk.”

She further established that there are different forms of diabetes which are Type 1 diabetes and thus is the more frequent type in childhood, although it can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and people who have it need insulin to survive.

Type 2 diabetes which is by far the most common type, accounting for over 90% of diabetes cases worldwide. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Indeed, evidence exists that reversal of type 2 diabetes may be possible, sometimes. Lastly is Gestational diabetes at this stage diabetes has a first onset or recognition during pregnancy. It usually resolves after child delivery but women who have had GDM are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.

Globally, the prevalence of diabetes has continued to rise in unprecedented leaps. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that worldwide, 537 million adults (age 20-79 years) are living with diabetes. This is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. This growing pandemic is worse in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. To make matters worse, one in two adults with diabetes in this region are undiagnosed. While this is a grim statistic, it is noteworthy that even more people- an estimated 541 million adults- have prediabetes! This makes diabetes just a tip of this looming iceberg.

Prediabetes describes a condition in which the blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes typically has no symptoms, but long-term diabetes-related complications can occur even in this state. People with prediabetes have a high risk of developing type 2diabetes. Pre diabetes, thus represents a unique opportunity to prevent diabetes by initiating lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle changes can help prevent prediabetes, its progression to overt diabetes and improve quality of life. Some of these choices include getting active, losing excess weight, healthy diet, reduce fat intake, limit all alcohol intake to less than one drink/day, quit smoking and Use medication when needed.

In commemoration of World Diabetes Day, Evercare Hospital Lekki joins the rest of the world in the advocacy for more public education about diabetes, its symptoms, and preventions, and is offering free diabetes screening to residents in its immediate community as part of its CSR initiative and effort in raising awareness of the disease.

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