Act Now to Change Tomorrow


‘I feel nauseated. In recent times I have had increased thirst and hunger, lost weight and urinate too often at night. To worsen the case, the wound I sustained when I stumbled over a chair as my vision became blurred is yet to heal,’ said Okon as he recounted his recent ordeals to his doctor.
‘These are symptoms of diabetes. Other symptoms include itching around the penis or vagina, tiredness and irritability. I need to perform a test using your blood sample and a glucometer to know if you are diabetic’, said the doctor to the already-troubled Okon.
‘What is diabetes?’ asked the now-confused Okon.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that describes the increase in the blood sugar level over a prolonged time. This may be due to ineffective use of insulin by the body or the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Three known forms of diabetes known are type I diabetes, type II diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type I diabetes is not known to be preventable. Type II diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s ineffective use of insulin. 90% of people living with diabetes round the world are suffering from type II diabetes (WHO). Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy in some women. In this form of diabetes, the blood sugar is above normal though slightly below levels of those diagnosed of diabetes.
Diabetes can be treated by the use of medications or insulin therapy. Low-dose aspirin therapy as well as blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications may be prescribed to help prevent heart and blood vessel disease. Some lifestyle measures that are effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type II diabetes include:
·         Being physically active
·         Maintaining a healthy body weight
·         Eating a healthy diet comprising fruits, vegetables, reduced sugar and saturated fats.
·         Eliminating tobacco use
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure. If diagnosed, interventions are necessary to avert other complications. Such interventions include:
·         Control of blood glucose
·         Control of blood pressure
·         Care of the foot
·         Care of the eyes
·         Care of the kidney
The World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. Small improvements in managing blood glucose levels can make a big difference if you stay dedicated and maintain the improvements. So the time to act is now – Act Today to Change Tomorrow.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi
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