Millions of people around the world live with diabetes; many are unaware, some are unable to afford proper management and family members suffer indirectly as the disease wipes away scare finances while eating away the fruitful years of their dear ones. This is even more heart-breaking in situations where management of the condition is inadequate or is totally non-existent for a variety of reasons including lack of many to buy food and medication.
November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how one’s body uses blood sugar. No matter the type of diabetes one has, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood.
On World Town Planning Day, which is November 8th, I make an appeal to our astute town planners to insist we have areas for physical activity, greens to de-stress and appropriate pavements to walk all in a bid to combat Diabetes and other Lifestyle Diseases. I know you can read me loud and clear.
CHECK THESE OUT
• 425 Million People are living with diabetes and most of these are type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle has a major impact on type 2 diabetes
• 1 in 2 people currently living with diabetes are undiagnosed. For a condition that complications develop easily, early diagnosis and management is key
• Diabetes can induce poverty; it can be expensive for the family and the individual
• Less than 1 in 4 family members have access to diabetes education programme. We surely need to work harder at this.
With the above points in mind, the International Diabetes Federation and the whole world is aiming at the following;
• Promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes
• Raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and make accessible a support network for those affected.
All of us especially those with diabetes in the family need to learn about the risks, warning signs to look out for and what to do to prevent complications
RISK FACTORS FOR TYPE 1 DIABETES
The exact cause is unknown but these may be associated with a higher chance of developing Type 1 diabetes.
• When one has damaging immune system cells referred to as autoantibodies
• Environmental factors such as exposure to a viral illness may play a role
• When family member(s) has type 1 diabetes.
• Certain geographical locations seem to have more than their fair share e.g. Finland and Sweden
RISK FACTORS FOR PRE-DIABETES AND TYPE 2 DIABETES
• When overweight or obese, the body is resistant to insulin
• Inactivity or lack of physical activity; this will automatically lead to weight gain. Physical activity pushes the body to use glucose as energy hence reducing glucose in the blood and in addition it makes the cells more sensitive to insulin.
• When family members have diabetes
• Race- being African comes with a fair risk but we are not alone
• As we grow older our risk increases probably because we are less active and gain weight. The cycle continues.
• When one develops diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or when your baby is 4kg or more at birth. After delivery your blood sugar may return to normal but woe betides you if you do not take adequate precautions. Diabetes may show its ugly head again.
• High Blood Pressure; these two are bedfellows. The link may be simply because they are both closely associated with a poor lifestyle.
• When your Good Cholesterol (HDL) is low and/or you have high Triglycerides (Sugary Cholesterol) you may be on the wrong path.
• Females who develop Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
BEWARE OF THESE
Many of us are familiar with the unholy triad of increased thirst (drinking a lot of water), urinating a lot or unexplained weight loss (often eating a lot yet losing weight) but especially with Type 2 diabetes symptoms and signs are more subtle and we should be aware of these warning signs;
• Frequent yeast infections (“whites”)
• Recent weight gain (weight loss also a factor if its unexplained)
• Itching of the skin usually around the vagina or groin area
• Slow healing sores or cuts
• Numbness and tingling sensation of the hands and feet
• Dark skin changes of the neck, armpit and groin called acanthosis nigricans
• Blurred or decreased vision. In cases one has to change corrective lenses frequently
• Easy fatigueability
• Impotence or erectile dysfunction
I bet we all know at least one person with diabetes and many of us know some of the complications that it leaves in its trail. The endless hospital visits, the dialysis when our kidneys give up on us and the amputations that may be lifesaving. All these drain our finances, puts a lot of stress on the one living with the condition as well as his or her family.
Check your status now!!! And take the appropriate steps.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
(Health Essentials Ltd/Mobissel/St Andrews Clinic)
*Dr. Kojo Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week – “Since Type 2 Diabetes is so closely tied to lifestyle, reducing your family’s risk starts at home. As a family let us eat appropriately and engage in adequate physical activity.”
• International Diabetes Federation – 2018 World Diabetes Day