Do you have diabetes (high blood sugar) and you don’t even know it?
Diabetes is a major health issue that has reached alarming levels. Today, more than half a billion people are living with diabetes worldwide.
According to data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2021 it is estimated that 537 million people have diabetes, and this number is projected to reach 643 million by 2030, and 783 million by 2045. It is also estimated that over 6.7 million people aged 20–79 will die from diabetes-related causes in 2021.
The number of children and adolescents (i.e. up to 19 years old) living with diabetes increases annually. In 2021, over 1.2 million children and adolescents have type 1 diabetes. Direct health expenditures due to diabetes are already close to one trillion dollars and will exceed this figure by 2030.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a disease that runs in families but its precise cause is not known. In many people, diabetes arises when the pancreas fails to produce the insulin hormone in sufficient quantity or when the body does not use the insulin properly.
Insulin helps the body to utilize carbohydrates. It allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter the body’s cells where it is converted into energy or stored. In diabetes, sugar builds up in the blood, rises to dangerous levels (a condition called Hyperglycemia) and eventually, this excess sugar is passed off in the urine.
DANGERS OF DIABETES
Diabetes, if left unchecked over the long term, can cause damage to many of the body’s organs, leading to disabling and life-threatening health complications such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), lower-limb amputation, and eye disease (mainly affecting the retina) resulting in visual loss and even blindness.
For example, during the first wave of coronavirus, people with diabetes had a 3.6-fold higher likelihood of being hospitalized due to COVID-19, compared to those without diabetes COVID-19 infections and deaths per 100,000 are higher in countries that have a high prevalence of diabetes
However, if appropriate management of diabetes is achieved, these serious complications can be delayed or prevented altogether
TYPES OF DIABETES
There are 3 major types of diabetes and they are:
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune process in which the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing beta-cells of the pancreas. As a result, the body produces very little or no insulin
People with type 1 diabetes need daily insulin injections to keep their blood glucose level within an appropriate range. Without insulin, they would die.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for over 90% of all diabetes worldwide. In type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia or high sugar levels in the blood is the result, which is caused by the inability of the body’s cells to respond fully to insulin, a condition termed insulin resistance. With the onset of insulin resistance, the hormone is less effective and, in due course, prompts an increase in insulin production
This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women and it is characterized by dangerously high levels of sugar in the blood (a condition known as hyperglycemia). Data from the IDF shows that hyperglycemia in pregnancy (HIP) affects approximately one in six pregnancies worldwide.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes can have babies that are large for gestational age, increasing the risk of pregnancy and birth complications for the mother and baby.
DIABETES IN NIGERIA
In Nigeria, 1 in 27 adults aged 20 to 79 years have diabetes
Nigeria is the second country with the highest rate of adult diabetes cases (20 to 79 years) in Africa.
In the world, Nigeria is the eight-country with the highest rate of incident (new) cases of Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents (ages 1 to 19)
The dangerous thing about diabetes occurrence in Nigeria is that over 45% of the people with diabetes don’t even know they have diabetes.
There are many symptoms your body may have been manifesting that could be a sign that you have diabetes.
You may have treated these symptoms, but after some time, it comes back again.
In order to help you know if the symptoms you have been showing are as a result of diabetes, you can use our free online diabetes symptoms checker which will provide you with a simple set of questions of your symptoms and give you the diagnosis of your diabetes status with additional resources of what to do for treatment and management.
So, if you’ve been showing several symptoms like headaches, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, low energy, excessive thirst, constant hunger, back pain, low energy, mood swings etc. and you’d like to 100% know if what you’re feeling is caused by diabetes, check out the free diabetes symptoms checker here.
Don’t be like the millions of Nigerian adults who have diabetes and don’t know they have diabetes until it lands them in the hospital or mortuary. Analyze your symptoms for free and discover if you have diabetes and get diabetes resources and solutions to help you here.