WHO Says Diabetes Stands at 4.3% in Nigeria as Health Experts Advocate Early Detection

WHO Says Diabetes Stands at 4.3% in Nigeria as Health Experts Advocate Early Detection

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is about a 4.3% increase in diabetes in Nigeria
  • The organization noted that the rise in the disease in Nigeria is due to a lack of early detection
  • Roche Diabetes Care has urged Nigerians with potential risk factors to get tested and follow regular self-monitoring

Pascal Oparada has over a decade of experience covering Tech, Energy, Stocks, Investments, and Economy.

Diabetes is on the rise globally, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is exceptionally high among developing nations.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of diabetes in Nigeria stands at 4.3%. This is primarily attributed to lifestyle changes driven by urbanization, unhealthy diets, sugary drinks, insufficient physical activity, widespread tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Diabetes, health workers
Health workers advocate early detection for diabetes Credit: Blend Images - JGI/Tom Grill
Source: Getty Images

While lifestyle adjustments can be instrumental in preventing diabetes, Roche Diabetes Care urges anyone with potential risk factors to get tested and follow regular self-monitoring of blood glucose, as early diagnosis can save lives.

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The urgent need for education and access

The Nigerian Minister of State for Health has recognized that increased education and access to diagnostic tools and medicines are paramount in the battle against diabetes. This chronic condition is a significant contributor to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputations.

Globally, between 2000 and 2019, diabetes mortality rates increased by 3% across different age groups, and in lower-middle-income countries, the mortality rate due to diabetes increased to 13%. The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas (10th edition) estimates that excluding the mortality risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 6.7 million adults between the age of 20–79 died as a result of diabetes or its complications in 2021.

Prevention and early diagnosis: The key to a healthier future

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Preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes can be achieved through simple yet powerful lifestyle changes. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining an average body weight, and abstaining from tobacco use are effective strategies. Diabetes can be managed and its complications avoided or delayed through a combination of diet, physical activity, medication, regular screening, self-monitoring, and treatment for potential complications.

BusinessDay reports that regular self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is pivotal for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. While early diagnosis is crucial for effective management, SMBG is vital to controlling blood glucose levels.

Understanding Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as insulin-dependent, juvenile, or childhood-onset diabetes – is characterized by inadequate insulin production, meaning that patients may require daily doses of insulin. The causes of type 1 diabetes and the means for its prevention have not been identified, making it a condition that is managed and treated rather than cured.

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Type 2 diabetes affects the body's ability to convert glucose (sugar) into energy effectively. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels if left untreated. Over time, it can cause severe damage to nerves and blood vessels. However, many type 2 diabetes cases are preventable. Risk factors include being overweight, lack of exercise, and genetic predisposition.

The importance of early detection

In some cases, diabetes symptoms may suddenly appear. However, type 2 diabetes symptoms can be mild and often take years to become noticeable. These symptoms include extreme thirst, increased urination, blurred vision, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss. The disease can progressively damage blood vessels in the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

Oluwatosin Akinsulire, Product Manager at Roche Diabetes Care, reveals that type 2 diabetes is progressive.

Without early diagnosis and proper management, its course can impact your health and overall well-being. If you want to significantly mitigate the complications of Type 2 diabetes, such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure, empower yourself with knowledge and monitor your blood glucose meaningfully, Akinsulire said.

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The impact on patients' vision can also be severe, with an increased risk of permanent vision loss by damaging eye blood vessels. Many people living with diabetes experience foot problems due to nerve damage and poor blood flow, which can lead to foot ulcers and, in severe cases, amputation. The risks associated with diabetes should never be taken lightly. We urge anyone who feels they may be at risk due to lifestyle factors or symptoms to get tested early and follow a routine of regular self-monitoring so that the proper treatment can mitigate all these risks.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose empowers individuals to proactively track their blood glucose, facilitating timely interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Regular monitoring acts as a proactive tool against diabetes. When self-monitoring of blood glucose is done according to standard recommendations, people living with diabetes or those at risk can gain insights into the impact of their choices, going beyond mere detection to the active maintenance of a healthy and balanced life.

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Early diagnosis: A lifesaver for Type 2 Diabetes

Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the worst possible effects of type 2 diabetes. Regular check-ups and blood tests with a healthcare provider are the most effective means of detecting diabetes early. Early diagnosis ensures that proper management and treatment can commence before complications arise, significantly improving the patient's long-term outlook.

Akinsulire said:

"By emphasizing the importance of early detection, regular monitoring, and effective treatment, we aim to help people live longer, healthier lives. But we cannot do it alone. Self-monitoring of blood glucose takes minimal time and can be done at any primary healthcare facility or home using a blood glucose monitor. Patients can take control of their lives by having one simple test. Together, we can work towards a future where diabetes no longer threatens the well-being of our caregivers, children, mothers, fathers, and every Nigerian contributing to a healthier society."

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The development comes as Nigeria increased its Sugar Tax to prevent the rise of the disease in the country.

The Federal Ministry of Health has committed to raising the tax on sugar and other sweetened beverages from 10% to 20%.

The move is to fight the increasing public health concerns associated with excessive sugar consumption.

Why doctors do not find Nigerian healthcare system attractive by Olumide Adesina

Legit.ng reported that The UK has placed Nigeria and 53 other nations on a red list as health or social care employers are unwilling to hire them.

One month prior, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed Nigeria as one of the 55 nations with the most urgent workforce issues connected to universal health coverage. Nigeria has the third-highest percentage of foreign doctors working in the UK, behind Pakistan and India.

In its revised code of practice, the UK stated that without a government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities, health and social care organizations in England do not actively recruit from countries identified by WHO as having the most pressing health and care workforce-related challenges.

Source: Legit.ng

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Pascal Oparada (Business editor) Pascal Oparada is a Mass Communications Graduate from Yaba College of Technology with over 10 years of experience in journalism. He has worked in reputable media organizations such as Daily Independent, TheNiche newspaper, and the Nigerian Xpress. He is a 2018 PwC Media Excellence Award winner. Email:pascal.oparada@corp.legit.ng

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