Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle disorders that has witnessed an alarming rise in its incidence over the past few decades. In 2021, an estimated 24 million adults in Africa between the ages of 20 and 79 years were living with diabetes. This figure is estimated to rise further in the next decades.
Moreover, nearly 52 million adults in Africa have IGT (Impaired Glucose Tolerance), which puts them at a very high risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is also found to be responsible for more than 400,000 deaths in Africa in 2021.
This marks the need to create awareness about the importance of early diagnosis and regular treatment of diabetes to bring down the incidence of this condition.

What is diabetes?

It is a metabolic disorder that causes the blood sugar levels to rise beyond the normal limits, eventually leading to some complications, if not detected and managed in a timely manner.
It is considered a metabolic disorder as it interferes with the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body.

What are the types of diabetes?

The 2 most common forms of diabetes include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, a hormone that plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin does not work as it should, even when it is produced in an adequate amount in the pancreas.

What are the causes and risk factors of diabetes?

Diabetes is considered a metabolic disorder because it affects the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body and prevents the body from using glucose efficiently.
It is also considered a hormonal or endocrinal disorder as it develops due to the reduced production of insulin in the pancreas or insulin resistance.
It may also be termed an immunological disorder because chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are often the precursors that prevent thereceptors on the cells from responding to insulin.
Factors that could increase your risk of diabetes include:

Age

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after 40 years. However, there has been a substantial rise in the number of people below the age of 40 being diagnosed with diabetes in recent years.

Weight

Being obese or overweight is a major risk factor as it can contribute to inflammation and elevate blood sugar levels directly.

Family history

The risk of this condition is higher in patients having a family member diagnosed with it.

Fat distribution

Accumulation of fat mainly in the abdomen – instead of the hips and thighs – could indicate a higher risk of diabetes.

Sedentary lifestyle

Physical activity can help to control your weight, improve the body’s ability to use glucose, and make your cells more responsive to insulin. Sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, can elevate diabetes risk significantly.

Blood lipid levels

The risk of diabetes is associated with low levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) “good” cholesterol and a high level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The symptoms of diabetes usually develop slowly over several years. Hence, most patients do not even know they are living with this condition until they develop complications. However, begin watchful of the subtle signs of diabetes can offer an effective way for the early diagnosis of this condition.

Some common early warning signs of diabetes include:
  • Fatigue
  • Patches of darkened skin, more commonly in the neck and armpits
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent infections
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurring of vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Slow-healing ulcers and sores
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms or feet

Treatment of diabetes

There is no cure for diabetes. However, it is possible to control your blood sugar levels and avoid the complications of diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly, and taking medications as needed.
Medications that can help in the treatment of diabetes include oral anti-diabetic drugs like Metformin and Meglitinides and insulin injections.
Lifestyle interventions such as healthy eating and being physically active also play a role in preventing the complications of diabetes.
We have a team of skilled medical professionals who have expertise in the management of diabetes. You can visit our center or contact us to learn more about the various methods for the early diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

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