The Diabetes Association of Nigeria (DAN) has said about 10 million people were living with the disease in the country.
National President of the association, Dr. Alkali Mohammed, who is also the Chief Medical Director, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, stated this at a town hall meeting organised by the Katsina State chapter of the diabetes association.
“The disturbing aspect is that a number of people walk about without the knowledge that they have diabetes,” said Mohammed who described diabetes as a leading non-communicable disease, projected to afflict 522 million people globally by 2030.
He said DAN was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health to make it mandatory for patients to be tested for diabetes once they appear in hospitals, whether they have diabetes symptoms or not.
Mohammed said the lack of exercise or physical activities was one of the causes of diabetes, and that it was important to exercise routinely to prevent being afflicted by the disease.
“Type 2 diabetes is all about lifestyle which means that people should avoid sedentary lifestyle; people should also do a lot of exercise. Nowadays, you see that people take vehicles to go to short distances instead of taking a walk which is healthier and safer. People should avoid consumption of processed and fast foods which encourage development of type 2 diabetes; eat healthy foods instead, the closer the food is to nature, the safer. It is better to take raw oranges or pineapples, for example, than taking processed varieties of the products with preservatives,” Mohammed said.
Former Katsina State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Badamasi Lawal, said diabetes had reduced the quality of lives of many people and urged governments at all levels to provide free diabetes drugs for patients.
“The interplay of environmental factors and scarcity of resources has left the care and management of diabetes in a deplorable state. The apparent hopelessness on the part of diabetes patients and the desire to regain their health, tend to expose them to patronising unothodox health practitioners,” he said.
Medical reports define diabetes as a metabolic disorder characterised by either partial or absolute deficiency of insuline which results in high glucose level in the body. Some of the symptoms of diabetes infection are said to include frequent urination, weight loss, blurred vision, itching and weakness. Diabetes may result in cardiovascular and kidney problems, amputation of legs, erectile dysfunction, eye disorders, and blindness.