Diabetes in Nigeria And The Long Term Dangers
Diabetes has hidden dangers that begin before diagnosis and continue to worsen if certain steps are not taken to prevent complications that are the true, diabetes-related “killers”
Statistics show that Nigeria has about 18 million diabetics, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It’s amazing how many people, including diabetics, who have no idea what life-long dangers a diabetic face faces poses.
A diabetic, all things being equal, lives nearly 10 years less than his average non-diabetic counterpart.
Why do diabetics live shorter than nondiabetics? The answer to that question is both simple and complex. In general terms, simple to explain, complicated in the medical sense.
I’ll try to give a simple , straight-forward answer to the above question without traveling the complicated route in this article. Diabetics live shorter lives than non-diabetics, due to complications with diabetes.
What Are Diabetic Complications?
Diabetic complications are chronic medical conditions which start to affect the diabetic ‘s body. These complications are mostly caused by a condition called “Advanced Glycation End Products” by the medical community, which is simply “excess sugar” that saturates the inside of the body’s cells.
This condition also called short-lived AGE includes coronary artery disease, vascular disease, blindness, kidney disease, retinopathy (blindness) and loss of feeling in the hands and feet, among others.
Early-stage diabetes produces no symptoms. Unless a diabetic is found during a routine medical examination, he or she may remain undiagnosed for years. It is during these years that the beginnings of diabetic complications in cells (AGE) can gain a foothold due to excess sugar.
The statistics show that there is the possibility that as many as 5 million people will go about their normal lives while having diabetes in Nigeria undiagnosed.
Are Diabetic Complications A Certainty?
While the current consensus is that the Diabetes + Time = complications formula for diabetic complications is. What this means is that, over time, a diabetic becomes diagnosed with one or more diabetic complications has a much greater potential.
This is partly because of how well the individual is monitoring and controlling their blood sugar.
Drastic rises and drops of blood sugar can be hard on the body, and the excess sugar in the cells causes havoc on the various nerves within the body, capillaries, veins, and arteries alike.
The evidence to date shows that excellent blood sugar control and an active lifestyle go a very long way in preventing and/or slowing the onset of diabetic complications.
The Different Types Of Diabetes
Two types of diabetes: Type One and Type Two. Type One attacks children and young adults and is characterized by the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that breaks down sugars and starches while converting them into energy.
Type Two usually occurs later in an adult’s life, and is characterized by the pancreas being unable to produce enough insulin because of several factors, one of which is obesity.
Around 10 percent of people with diabetes in Nigeria is Type One and the other 90 percent are Type Two. The big difference between the two is that Type One diabetics are fully insulin-dependent and take daily injections while Type Two’s have both those who require insulin shots while others can rely on oral medication and/or diet and exercise changes.
The Risk Factors Surrounding Diabetes in Nigeria
There are several risk factors that can push a pre-diabetic into full blown diabetes.
1) being overweight.
2) family history of diabetes,
3) lack of adequate exercise.
4) history of gestational diabetes (occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears after delivery).
5) certain ethnic groups
People over age 45 and have one or more of the above-mentioned risk factors should be screened for diabetes each year, preferably during an annual medical examination. People with these risk factors have been shown to comprise the majority of diagnosed diabetes in Nigeria cases each year.
What tests can help in diagnosing cases of diabetes in Nigeria?
There are two, main tests used for determining whether or not a person has a glucose intolerance:
1) Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
2) Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Both of these tests can determine glucose intolerance which is where blood sugar is higher than what is considered normal. This is not always an indication of diabetes however.
Can The Onset Of Diabetes in Nigeria Be Prevented?
People with the above risk factors can go a long way to preventing full-blown diabetes from developing by making significant lifestyle changes.
What’s changing lifestyles? Changing unhealthy diets to more blood sugar-friendly diets, doing enough exercise to help offset increased blood sugar levels and keeping the body healthy and losing weight especially if the medical community considers it obese.
You need to stay on a strict diabetic diet when you’re pre-diabetes. Ask your healthcare professional for a diet that meets the criteria and restricts cakes, candy , cookies, and other simple sugars. Eat small, nutritious foods and eat five times a day, instead of just three.
If you are already diagnosed with full-blown diabetes in Nigeria, you should follow the same diet while under your healthcare professional’s meticulous care. Keep within proper limits your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, and have your eyes checked every year.
Diabetes can contribute to heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and. In the year 2000, complications caused almost 70,000 deaths.
What Can The Diabetic Look Forward To?
By paying serious attention to lifestyle, diabetic complications can be prevented or lessened for a longer period of time.
A diabetic who eats right, keeps his blood sugar under control and can expect to have a quality of life within accepted limits, exercises and proper rest, which is much higher in terms of the pain and suffering that diabetic complications bring into the lives of diabetics who do nothing to change their lifestyles.
What starts to happen in the diabetic who begins to develop complications over time due to uncontrolled blood sugars is a life filled with the possibility of becoming an invalid, either blind, amputee, or suffering from renal failure or heart attack.
If the lifestyle changes are not adhered to, the above paints a rather grim image.
Research has shown that the diabetic who keeps their blood sugar within acceptable limits and follows a healthy, diabetic lifestyle that has been shown to be effective against diabetic complications has a much better chance than dedicated counterparts of not developing many of the complications their do less.
There is a new derivative of thiamine (Vitamin B1) available now that is showing great promise in greatly reducing the excess sugar in the cells of the diabetic, the process known as Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE).
Is Benfotiamine Effective Against Diabetic Complications?
Benfotiamine is a lipid soluble derivative of thiamine. Japanese researchers developed benfotiamine in the 1950’s and later patented it in the United States in 1962. No one in the US medical community paid much attention to it at the time. For the past 12 years in Europe it has been used for neuropathy, retinopathy and other uses.
The chemical name and formula for benfotiamine is: S-benzoylthiamine-O-monophosphate (C19H23N4O6PS).
It wasn’t until a group of researchers in New York at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University released the results of their research in 2003 in Nature Medicine Magazine did the rest of the world begin to take a look at this substance.
Benfotiamine is unique and was reported by Michael Brownlee, M.D., as showing much promise in preventing nerve and blood-vessel damage in diabetics.
Every diagnosed diabetic has been told by his/her healthcare provider that diabetic complications are the true killers in terms of diabetes.
Exercising consistently will help curb down the rate of Diabetes in Nigeria. Exercise can reduce the need for dosage or medication, and improve the ability to lose and/or maintain body weight when combined with an intuitive diet.
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