More than 1.5 million Nigerians die yearly of diabetes. The World Health Organization revealed this during the 2016 annual World Health Day held on the 7th of April, 2016. The international Diabetes Federation (IDF) in conjunction with Diabetes Association of Nigeria also confirmed that the disease is most prevalent in Nigeria. That is, Nigeria has the highest number of people with diabetes. It also stated that if adequate care is not taken, the prevalence rate will heighten in 2030.
Diabetes is an endemic disease which arises when the body fails to produce enough insulin—a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level. Insulin is produced in the pancreas located at the upper abdomen. The main function of insulin is to convert excess glucose (sugar) to glycogen. However, the absence of this hormonal secretion leads to diabetes.
Obesity/overweight is number one cause of diabetes. The body of an obese is often piled up with lots of fat. These fats narrow the cell walls and the veins, making it difficult for the body to absorb insulin. Excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks, lack of exercise and stress are another cause of diabetes according to experts. Other studies also show that eating at irregular hours, skipping breakfasts, and eating heavy meals at night increases the risk of diabetes.
Unfortunately, most people never knew they have diabetes; therefore, a regular medical checkup is the first step in tackling the prevalence rate of diabetes. In words of Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, “if we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to re-think our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain.” In addition, if you must avoid any meal in a day, it shouldn’t be breakfast. Avoid fatty, starchy, and sugary foods and drinks. Exercise daily, and don’t forget: Live healthy, wealthy and wise.
By Beatrice F. Mokwunye