WORLD DIABETES DAY 2016: LET'S BEAT DIABETES

Today is World Diabetes Day. It is aimed at raising public awareness and understanding of diabetes as one of the common diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. SpringAid International Development (SAID) within its Health and Wellbeing Health Programme highlights important aspects of diabetes. We share information on what diabetes is and the three types of diabetes and important facts and statistics about the disease. We present information on aspects of the disease such as symptoms and risk factors that are associated with the disease and how diabetes can be diagnosed and prevented. We organize interactive workshops on how a patient can live with diabetes and how family, friends and colleagues can cope with and support a person with diabetes.

Nigeria has unbelievable very poor health indices. Ordinarily, most dangerous diseases in Nigeria, as in other African countries, are communicable diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis (TB), and HIV/AIDS, etc. But in recent years, non-communicable diseases like diabetes Mellitus, cancer, and cardiac disease, and chronic respiratory disease, musculoskeletal and mental disorder have emerged as major public health hazards in Nigeria (Maiyaki/ Garbati 2014:1ff).

Diabetes is an extremely common diabetes affecting many people all over the world. Nigeria bears the highest burden in the world. Unfortunately, the country is focused on in-fighting, ethnic bigotry and scheming to still as much national resources as possible, while statistics on disease burden is dare at all level. Some of the signs associated with diabetes include feeling tired, hungry and excessively thirsty all the time. Are you experiencing blurred vision or a tingling in the feet? Have you lost weight? If the answer is yes, then you could be suffering from diabetes. Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there’s either not enough of the hormone, insulin (produced by the pancreas) to break down the glucose, or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. It is the leading cause of kidney failure and it also at least doubles the risk for heart attack or stroke. 2009: 1327). The cause is that the body either resists the effects of insulin or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to circulate the blood glycogen (sugar) into the body cells. This may lead to high blood glucose level (hyperglycaemia) that causes serious damage to the cells and tissues, which when accompanied by multiple complications such as Blindness, Kidney failure, Foot ulcer, Limp amputation, Charcot joints, sex and autonomic dysfunction and infectious disease can lead to death or a double burden if it remains untreated (IDF Atlas 2013:22). Persons with diabetes mellitus type 2 may experience signs like an excessive excretion of urine, thirstiness, constant hunger, weight loss, vision change and fatigue. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/) .

Nigeria is now confronted with cases of growing incidence of non-communicable disease (NCDs) like diabetes type 2. With increasing malnutrition and its corollary health hazards, patients with diabetes are faced with a double burden health hazard (Malykai/Garbati 2014: 1ff). Diabetes mellitus Type 2 accounts for 15% of all hospital admissions and 22% of all medical deaths in Nigeria (Ogbara et al. 2007, 723f). This disease condition is still attributed to ‘curses’ and ‘hexes’. The diabetes type 2 is a complex disease due to its multiple causes and management. This makes the chances of self-management and recovery difficult or slow in progress. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be treated with insulin, dietary changes, and exercise. Those who are have this disease are suffering double disease burden. Unfortunately, there is no diabetes Prevention Primary Health Care Plan nationwide (IDF 2014:24).

The information SpringAid International Development (SAID) shares will be of great interest to all community members, especially those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and who would like to know more about the disease, its treatment and coping with it. It will also be of great interest to all healthcare professionals who would like access to easy to understand facts and information about diabetes that they can share with their patients. SAID is united today in a special way with all who are suffering under the burden of diabetes. Together we can beat this disease!
Sr Innocent Maris Omumuh (MA Health and Nursing Education, MSc public Health).

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