November 14 is marked every year as World Diabetes Day. The day was declared in 1991 with the aim of nipping the rising killer-disease in the bud worldwide. Later, in 2017, the United Nations embraced the day. The theme of this year is: “Education to protect tomorrow”.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is bred by too much sugar in humans’ blood leading to hyperglycemia known as high glucoses resulting in the reduction of insulin. There are three different types of diabetes called type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. The common symptoms of the DM include excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, slow-healing sores, weight loss, blurred vision, fast heart rate, headache, decreased muscle strength and erectile dysfunction.
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Today, DM is considered as the biggest epidemic in human history on the earth. It has been rated as the leading cause of deaths globally.
The WHO recently revealed that more than 4.2 million people were killed by the disease in 2019 that are mostly residing in low- and middle-income countries of North America, Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Another recent report titled, `Diabetes: the Ever Growing Problem’, said about 6.7 million deaths recorded globally are linked to DM in 2021 – about in every 5 seconds.
Besides, according to IDF Diabetes Atlas Tenth edition 2021 also estimated that approximately 537 million people are currently living with DM all over the world. The projection may rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas 10th Edition, an estimated 24 million adults aged 20-79 years are living with diabetes in Africa and it killed over 400,000 Africans in 2021. Nearly one in every five adults is affected by the silent pandemic in the continent as a result of either rising obesity or taking poor diets.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is said to be the country that has the highest number of people with diabetes. Experts declare that 11.2 million are currently living with diabetes in the country.
Dr Williams Balogun, who is a diabetologist in Nigeria, said in 2021, diabetes killed 6.7 million Nigerians. Professor Olufemi Adetola Fasanmade, who is the Unit Head of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Nutrition, Division of the Department of Medicine in the CMUL and the University of Lagos, has recently explained that diabetes kills more people in Nigeria than COVID-19, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and cancer put together.
Prevention is indeed better than cure. The diabetes experts are now warning against indulging in the major risk factors to developing type 2 diabetes, including cigarette smoking, processed food consumption, obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, stress, hyperglycemia and chronic inflammation.
Numerous researches conducted by diabetologists have also shown that type 2 and gestational diabetes have a very strong link with people’s genes. They added however that even if a person inherited the disease from his family, he can be protected from it by getting regular exercise, losing weight, quitting smoking and taking healthier foods among others.
I strongly call on the WHO and IDF in collaboration with all governments around the world to rise up and continue combating the deadliest disease sincerely by engaging diabetologists in the mass enlightenment of the people on how to protect themselves from being infected by the disease.
Mustapha Baba Azare, Bauchi State, [email protected]