Diabetes...why Africa should be alarmed! pt 1

By Dr Blossom DPT - March 05, 2012

Well I know that the title says Africa, but really this post is  only directed to West Africans and other countries with similar diets and eating patterns as Nigeria......

Some of you might be misinformed or simply might be wondering what is diabetes? Some of you even ignorantly assume that it is a "sugar" disease. Well this is not the case. For a simple definition it would be more correct to say diabetes is an "insulin" disease, but just saying this doesn't tell the whole story.

There are two main forms of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Type one is a genetic disease where the body doesn't produce enough insulin or any insulin at all for its needs. Type 2 is not really considered genetic in the same sense, though this leaves room for a whole different discussion, it is an acquired disease where the body has lost the ability to regulate and/or use insulin correctly. As 90% of all diabetes cases are of Type 2, this post will be about Type 2 diabetes.

First let me answer your question as to what exactly insulin is and what is its function in our body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in the body which regulates the metabolism of food in your body. All food we take in gets broken down to glucose (sugar), and insulin allows for glucose to be taken out of the blood stream and into the tissues of our body to be used for energy. Diabetes is present when the cells of our body are no longer responsive to insulin so sugar remains in the blood causing us to have high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

Diabetes is a very serious disease, and in it's advanced and uncrolled stage can lead to Neuropathy (nerve damage), Nephropathy (kidney disease), and Retinopathy (eye problems). When not managed people with diabetes typically die from kidney failure, infection, stroke, or heart disease which diabetes also predisposed the body to

With all that said, there is more to diabetes but i have provided the basics here. Check out part 2 for more about Diabetes and Africa

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9 Comments

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