Lifestyle, Dearth Of Professionals Are Major Killers Of Diabetic Patients
• Nigeria Has The Highest Cases Of Diabetes In Africa
WALTER Lawal, 27, is diabetic and went to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, for treatment, but not much was done to alleviate his condition. Dissatisfied, he sought treatment elsewhere.
This young man had be well, until two years ago, when he observed he had been drinking too much water and urinating a lot, while his weight steadily decline. Worried about this, his parents took him to a hospital, where he was diagnosed to have Type 1 diabetes and placed on insulin injections.
Though, diabetes is said to be a hereditary disease, his family history has no trace of it. Unfortunately, the myths surrounding the disease blurred Lawal’s parents from seeking better treatment at the appropriate place. They were surrounded with plethora of friends, who filled them with idea that made them believe that the sickness is beyond what modern medicine could cure, hence Lawal’s family resort to seeking spiritual cure, abandoning the insulin therapy.
Many Nigerians are in the shoes of Lawal, swimming in the pool of ignorance and have failed to consult the right professionals for treatment. This has led to the mismanagement of the disease and consequently caused the early death of many patients.
According to experts, proper management of the diabetic condition, adequate healthy diet and physical exercises would help reduce the disease in the country. For them, adequate government support would reduce mortality rate, ensure proper management and improve awareness of the disease.
Globally, no fewer than 382 million people are living with diabetes and if nothing is done, the number might increase to 592 million by 2035. According to 2014 statistics of the disease, Nigeria recorded 3.747 million cases of diabetes. On daily basis people have been dying of it, yet there is no proper effort to reduce the number of new cases in the country.
Diabetes has led to the amputation of many patients’ legs, as a result of improper treatment. Health experts have said 50 per cent of amputees die a year after their amputation.
According to reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 347 million people are living with diabetes, with 19.8 million from Africa. And according to IDF 2013 report, Nigeria has the highest number of people with diabetes in Africa with 3.9 million cases and 4.9 per cent national prevalence rate. The reports also show that more than 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Following the reports diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030 in these countries.
According to Wikipedia, Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of metabolic disease in which there is high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time. Its symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger. If left untreated, it could result to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), in which a patient produces excess blood acids, and Nonketotic Hyperosmolar coma. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers and damage to the eyes.
President, Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria, (EMSON), Prof. Feyi Adegoke, in calling for more awareness of the disease explained that diabetes mellitus is a leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation across the globe. “Diabetic foot is a common chronic complication of diabetes mellitus, which has significant impact on the health of affected individuals, their quality of life and even their life expectancy. It can be safely presumed that lack of knowledge of foot care practices and use of appropriate footwear in diabetics, lack of podiatry knowledge would be risk factors,” she said.
Dr. Olufemi Fasanmade of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), observed that in the past, there were no diabetes cases in Nigeria because the people were involved in serious farm work that enabled them burn calories working in the farms.
Fasanmade said: “Many people develop diabetic foot ulcer because of wound on the leg, which turns to spread to the entire leg and eventually lead to the patient’s death. Some people have wrong ideas of it; they think it is caused by witchcraft or a spell.
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