To mark World Diabetes Day, Evercare Hospital, Lekki, Lagos, organised a forum to shed more light on diabetes, its symptoms, and prevention, and to offer free diabetes screening to residents, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Speaking at the event, a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, at the hospital, Dr. Chinyere Udo, said: “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 utilise or store glucose produced from the 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 limitations in the 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, especially obese persons, individuals with a 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 said lifestyle changes could prevent diabetes.
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, she said the most common, accounting for over 90 percent of diabetes cases worldwide.
She said that Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented or delayed.
“Indeed, evidence exists that reversal of Type 2 Diabetes may be possible, sometime. Lastly, is Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). 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 an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes later in life,” she said.
“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 the tip of this looming iceberg.
She continued: “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 2 Diabetes. Prediabetes thus represents a unique opportunity to prevent diabetes by initiating lifestyle changes…”
Lifestyle changes can prevent prediabetes, and its progression to overt diabetes and improve quality of life. Some of these choices include getting active, losing excess weight, healthy diet, reducing fat intake, limit all alcohol intake to less than one drink/day, quitting smoking and Using medication when needed.