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Red alert to rise in diabetes complications in Nigeria

By Adaku Onyenucheya
08 November 2018   |   4:18 am
There are fresh concerns as Nigeria is estimated to lose about N184 billion by 2045 to the complications of diabetes and their treatments.

[File] Diabetes Test

*Country expected to lose N184bn to leg amputations, stroke, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, nerve damage, blindness, depression, others by 2045
*Novo Nordisk introduces Insulin Degludec to boost diabetes treatment
*Wellness Patron Health raises awareness, promises free health checks

There are fresh concerns as Nigeria is estimated to lose about N184 billion by 2045 to the complications of diabetes and their treatments.

According to estimates, Nigeria lost about N92 billion to treating diabetes in 2017, with the number expected to double in year 2045.

Further breakdown showed that one patient with major diabetes complications, sometimes, may be indebted to the tune of N500, 000 to N1 million for one admission.

Possible complications include: cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis); nerve damage (neuropathy)- damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, and for men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction; kidney damage (nephropathy)- severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Others are: damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness, and diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma; foot damage- may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation; skin conditions- more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections; hearing impairment; Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease; depression; and stroke.

This was disclosed at the weekend during the launch of Novo Nordisk basal Insulin Degludec for the treatment of diabetes in Nigeria, which was held in Lagos.

President of the Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (EMSON), Prof. Olufemi Fasanmade, said Africa accounted for about 16 million adults with diabetes in 2017, with the figures expected to rise to 41 million by 2045.

He said Africa recorded about 298,160 deaths from diabetes-rated cause in 2017, of which Nigeria recorded 40,329, averaging nearly 42 deaths every day. The Consultant Physician/ Endocrinologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) stressed that the death toll of diabetes is more when compared to the deaths recorded for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), tuberculosis, and malaria in the same year.

According to Fasanmade, a very worrying statistic is that the disease awareness level is still low as the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that six out of 10 Nigerians do not know that they have diabetes, totalling 1.70 million adults with diabetes, aged 20-79 years, which equals to 2.2 per cent of the adult population in 2017. The Associate Professor noted that the population of adults with diabetes are expected to rise 4.4 million by 2045; a 156- per cent increase, adding that only one in 20 people with diabetes are expected to reach treatment target.

“When we talk about the prevalence of diabetes and the mortality, we say that more than half of the people who have diabetes in this country are not diagnosed. Why? Because diabetes, very often, especially in the type 2 may nor have any symptoms and you need to actually go for a blood sugar check and that is why some corporations advice that before their staff are employed, they do blood sugar testing,” he said.

Fasanmade said with the introduction of Insulin Degludec in Nigeria, the clinicians now have an innovative product to make a meaningful contribution in the drive to ‘change diabetes’ in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14, Wellness Patron Health Limited, a health and wellness company, has announced plans to ensure full access by the Nigerian public to vital information needed to prevent or successfully manage diabetes in line with the goals of WDD. To this end the company says it is convening a diabetes awareness event themed “Diabetes Demystified” to educate Nigerians and allay the fears surrounding the disease.

The company’s Managing Director, Mrs. Daniella Akpakwu, in a press statement, said the company is compelled to organize the workshop, as a wellness institution, based on the knowledge that diabetes is a lifestyle disease which can either be prevented by those who do not have it or well controlled by those living with it through lifestyle modification.

Also, an Endocrinologist and Professor of Medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Jaipur, India, Surendra Kumar Sharma said with the huge number of diabetes patients, Africa, particularly Nigeria should be ready for diabetes epidemic in the next decade, which is a progressive disease characterised by the development of long-term complications like retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney disease) and neuropathy (sensation loss)

Speaking on the Insulin Degludec being launched, the Corporate Vice president, Business Area Africa & Gulf Novo Nordisk, Mads Bo Larsen, stated “Novo Nordisk is keen on providing the best healthcare and treatment to people with diabetes. Our strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the health sector involve educating patients, training healthcare professionals and strengthening healthcare systems.

“Insulin Degludec has been shown to provide low variability in blood glucose which is associated with a lower risk of severe hypoglycaemia. In the cardiovascular outcomes trial, DEVOTE, Insulin Degludec did not increase the risk of major cardiovascular events; while significantly reduced the rates of nocturnal severe and severe hypoglycaemia by 53 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively compared with insulin glargine U100, in adults with type 2 diabetes.”

Speaking on the effect of hypoglycemia, Prof. Thomas Pieber from the Division of Endocrinology & Diabetology Medical University of Graz, Austria said: “Maintaining good blood glucose control with insulin treatment can be challenging for healthcare professionals and patients due to concerns over hypoglycaemia,

He added: “Mild hypoglycaemic symptoms may include tachycardia, trembling, hunger, sweating, and difficulty in concentrating. Severe hypoglycaemia may lead seizure, coma and might lead to death. Nocturnal hypoglycaemia is a real concern for people with diabetes as it is often unpredictable and unrecognised.”

Akpakwu said: “The event will therefore focus not only on educating the public about diabetes but also touch on wellness and appropriate lifestyle for our environment. A lot will be trashed on diabetes and how to successfully manage it and live to the fullest. It promises to be impactful.”

Also, according to the release, the event, which holds on November 10, 2018 at Lilygate hotel, Lekki Phase 1, will feature health professionals and lifestyle experts who will be making presentations not only for people living with diabetes but everyone who desire to prevent the disease or stay in good health.

Apart from the experts’ lectures, the company further announced there would be free health and eye check and also foot massage for participants.

“The purpose of the World Diabetes Day is to raise awareness on a condition that affects millions of Nigerians and people around the world. There is a great need for everyone to join hands to reduce its impact and rapid spread worldwide – a task which Wellness Patron Health Limited will pursue relentlessly before, during and after the event,” the release further stated.

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