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Commentary: Controlling Diabetes

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WRITTEN BY PROF. PETER KATCHY
Diabetes, a complex metabolic disorder, is a state of diminished insulin. It is a condition of near total insulin deficiency due to its decreased effectiveness in the body.

It is a situation of fundamental defect in insulin secretion from pancreas. There are two major kinds of diabetes; diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Mellitus is by far the most common. Also, two types of the diabetes mellitus exist. They are: diabetes mellitus one and diabetes mellitus type two.

Classical type-one-diabetes may present in a child. A diabetic patient with type one case, after a period, may not be strictly insulin-dependent. It usually develops before the age of thirty, with peaks of onset at five years of age and in early adolescence. It can affect male or female. However, diabetes can be developed by any individual at any time.

Type-two-diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous group of metabolic disorder characterized by high level of glucose. It occurs in mature persons, obese patients and those who inherit it genetically. Simply put, diabetes is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce insulin for the body’s needs. When this happens, all the sugar in the blood are not utilized. So, sugar begins to build and over supply, leading to the kidney throwing off the excesses. However, it is not a condition of kidney infection.

It is not difficult to recognize the symptoms of diabetes, but it is necessary to do the appropriate tests to confirm that one is diabetic. Such symptoms as frequent urination, great thirst, gradual weight loss and weakness, mental depression, restlessness and inordinate appetite, indigestion and lassitude are noticed.

Non specific symptoms commonly complained of are the appearance or exacerbation of cramps in the calves or feet, particularly at night. Some patients complain of loss of appetite, but others develop a craving, particularly for sweet foods. Patients are often relatively constipated and develop a mild or occasional severe change in lens refraction, which causes visual blurring. Equally, most common sign is gangrene of the feet.

A dangerous aspect of diabetes mellitus is that when it is untreated, serious implications develop, thus reducing the patient’s life expectancy. The result is degeneration of the body’s arteries, kidneys, nervous system, loss of the sense of vibration, and loss of normal control, of the urinary bladder. There could be skin and other body tissues infection as well.

Diabetes patients must always go for medical checkup. They are equally advised to carry a wallet card or wear an inner tag indicating that he or she is diabetic in case of emergency. The little card should have a bio-data of the patient, including name, address and telephone number, where possible.

The management of diabetes does not revolve around sugar control alone. Other factors are put into consideration, since a patient should therefore develop diet which takes into account of medical needs other than the diabetes, and is consistent with the patient’s ethnic background.

Development and provision of diet is as attractive and realistic as possible. It should be a diet that also contains the entire essential elements in proper proportions for health. With recently produced drugs, which have been tried and tested, the thinking that diabetes is incurable will soon be over.

It is pertinent that our right to a healthy future is about actions against diabetes risk reduction.

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