HEALTH FRIENDLY: Why Diabetes Mellitus Is On The Increase In Nigeria
Diabetes Mellitus though very common, has and is still killing people in large numbers. According to findings, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, stroke and heart failures.
With diabetes, either the body does not produce insulin or the body does not produce enough insulin or a person is so overweight that the normal insulin produced is inadequate to function. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy, and when glucose does not go into the cells, it builds up into the blood and results into diabetes.
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The disease places and emotional and financial burden to the affected persons and his and entire family, therefore there is need to be talked about it be preventable and cannot be cured ones contracted. Diabetes can affect anyone irrespective of age or gender.
According to Dr. Micheal Okeke a public health practitioner, diabetes is on the increase in Nigeria and other African countries due to the increase in sedentary life style and unhealthy eating habits.
“In the past, people of African descent were not largely affected by diabetes mellitus for obvious reasons, our diet was wonderful, we could eat fresh food stuff and we were involved in more physical activities. Unfortunately, with modernization and globalization, we Africans now spend most of our time sitting down. From driving in AC cars to the office, to coming home to watch TV, so there is reduced physical activities. Also because of work, many don’t have enough time to eat good meals, they depend on fast foods.” He said
There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune condition. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in your pancreas that produce insulin, unfortunately, the damage is permanent. When this happens, no, or very little, insulin is released into the body. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy.
What prompts the attack isn’t clear. There may be both genetic and environmental components but lifestyle factors aren’t thought to play a role.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes starts as insulin resistance. This means your body can’t use insulin efficiently. That stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin until it can no longer keep up with demand. Insulin production decreases, which leads to high blood sugar.
The exact cause is unknown. However contributing factors may include genetics, lack of exercise, and being overweight.
Gestational diabetes happens when a woman is pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the woman has had her baby. But it does increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes later on.
To prevent type 2 diabetes, physical activities and proper nutrition (balanced diet) is needed.
Also if you are from a family with the history of diabetes (mostly type 1 diabetes) constant medical check up is advisable.
According to the expert, early detection of diabetes can help in the management of the disease. He said, though diabetes once contracted, it cannot be cured.