As the world just commemorated World Diabetic Day on November 14th, reports show that over 400 million people globally are living with diabetes, and of these, at least one in two are adults whom have not been diagnosed. In the past few years the World Health Organization (WHO), along with several governments around the world, has prioritized the management and prevention of diabetes.
This is a key agenda in this year’s commemoration of World Diabetic Day through its theme ‘Eyes on Diabetes’.
Commonly known in Africa as “ The Sugar Disease”, diabetes is essentially the body’s failure to regulate blood glucose levels by inability to produce enough insulin or the ineffective use of the insulin it produces through the pancreas. The two conditions are referred to as ‘Type one’ and ‘Type two’ diabetes respectively.
According to the 2016 WHO report, the number of people living with the illness has doubles since 1980, from 4.7 percent to nearly 9 percent in recent times, with type two being the most prevalent. Cases reported in low to middle income countries, particularly in Africa, have also increased.
In the past, tackling diabetes was predominantly reactionary leading to the symptomatic treatment of ailments associated to it, before patients were diagnosed. The symptoms mainly present themselves as loss of vision, fatigue, and hunger, among others. In the long term, the undetected underlying cause can lead to more serious chronic ailments such as heart problems, kidney failure, stroke, fetal loss (in pregnant women), and in many cases - death - which usually happens suddenly.