With the recent surge in its incidence, I had no choice but to start this series with one of the oldest diseases of all time and my source of inspiration to start MEDWED. I remember back in the day, when we as kids would take in so many sweet things and then we got scolded “you’ll have diabetes o!” I guess I kinda expected diabetes to mean “sugar”. To my surprise, Diabetes means “passage of excessive urine”.
So, there are two kinds of diabetes; Insipidus and Mellitus. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is the most common and that will be our focus for today. DM is characterised by increased levels of blood glucose and is confirmed by tests which include; fasting plasma glucose, random plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C). Normally, the body produces a hormone known as INSULIN which is responsible for regulating the glucose that is gotten from the foods we eat.
However, due to different factors, the body may not produce adequate insulin (known as Type I DM and is commoner in children) or the cells which are supposed to respond to this hormone do not function adequately (that is Type II DM which is commoner in adults). An increase in blood glucose levels leads to a process known as OSMOTIC DIURESIS which causes passage of excessive urine.
– Increased thirst (polydipsia)
– Increased frequency in urination (polyuria)
– Increased hunger (polyphagia)
– Weight loss
ARE YOU AT RISK OF DIABETES?
Some of the factors that can put you at risk of DM include;
– Positive family history of diabetes.
– Increasing age.
– Black race: Blacks are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than other races.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT DIABETES?
Diabetes Mellitus (especially Type II) is associated with a 10-year reduction in life expectancy due to blindness, cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, increased risk of lower limb amputations, increased frequency of hospitalisation. Other complications include; sexual dysfunction, cognitive dysfunction and many more.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF?
Exercise and healthy diets! Being concerned about your weight is healthy and completely necessary. Increased activity levels have been found to reduce the risk of diabetes and so many other chronic illnesses including cancers. Healthy foods such as fibre containing cereals, whole grain, fruits, vegetables should constitute the bulk of your daily meals. This is not so easy but it’s achievable especially here in Lagos where we have fruit vendors almost everywhere.
In summary, nobody wishes for bad things to happen to them but like they say “ignorance is no excuse”. Save yourself the stress and cost of managing diabetes later in life.
GET BUSY GETTING HEALTHY! and of course.. God join!
PS: The comment box is open for all your questions and you can also send them to me privately through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.