Annually, the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates the world health day on April 7 to mark its founding in 1948.

This year focuses on diabetes because of its increasing occurrence, especially in low and middle-income countries.

More than 40,000 diabetes deaths are recorded annually in Nigeria. And according to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), most of them are avoidable with the availability of information and resources. With treatment and management of the disease costing N53,000 annually, especially in a country that lives below poverty line, prevention is key.

Here are some key facts and pointers that can help prevention.

Definition

According to WHO, diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Types

There are three main forms of diabetes – Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

While Type 1 diabetes has no known cause, people living with it need daily insulin administration for survival.

Type 2 is mainly as a result of excess body weight and inactivity. Majority of the people living in the world have this type and is now increasingly occurring in young people and children.

The third, gestational, as its name implies, occurs in pregnancy and carries a risk of type two diabetes.

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lowerlimb amputation.

Statistics

Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030

Prevention

Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type two diabetes.

Management

Diabetes can be managed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications. Avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake.

Consequences

Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.



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