Recently I had an interview on my thoughts on Diabetes and it’s rapid spread in Nigeria see below

1. How many Nigerians are living with diabetes- type 1 and type 2?

The numbers are in and they’re not looking good! As of 2019, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 5.05 million Nigerians are living with diabetes, with the vast majority having Type 2. No recent numbers have been updated but I’m certain the recent numbers are Sky frighteningly high.

But hold your horses, there’s more to this than meets the eye!

Many Nigerians are walking around with their glucose levels soaring higher than a falcon in the open sky, and they’re not even aware of it! Yes, folks! IDF estimates that more than 50% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. Now that’s a bitter pill to swallow, yeah?!

However, these are not just mere numbers. They’re living, breathing human beings who are being let down by a lack of awareness and inadequate health services. They didn’t roll the dice and decide to have diabetes. They’re victims of a system that’d much rather turn a blind eye than take concrete steps.

But hey, I’m no diabetes Grim Reaper, just here to report the facts.

The solution is not just about throwing money at the problem either. It’s about education, awareness, access to quality health care and promoting healthier lifestyles.

After all, prevention is always better than a cure. Right? Let’s focus on increasing awareness, making healthy food choices accessible, and promoting regular vision tests and foot examinations.

Let’s build a healthier and stronger Nigeria! Because a country’s true strength lies in the health of its people.

We don’t have to be helpless spectators watching the numbers rise like a curse of uncontrolled diabetes. We’ve got the power to fight this menace. So, let’s take a stand, arm ourselves with knowledge, walk the path of prevention, and beat the diabetes beast back into the shadows where it belongs!

So spread the word, folks! The battle is on and it starts with YOU, yes YOU! We’re all soldiers in this fight. Let’s crush those numbers. Onward towards victory!

2. How about the fatalities?

Let’s not dance around the grim reality. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 132,500 deaths were recorded due to diabetes in Nigeria in 2019. This is an alarming figure, a bitter truth we must face head-on. Exact figures for recent times have not been updated officially but it goes without saying it’s certain to be outrageously high.

Each one of these individuals is someone’s parent, child, sibling, or friend. These aren’t mere digits on a report, they’re lives that have been tragically cut short.

These fatalities, each echoing a somber tale, tell us there’s an urgent need to step up our game. Take it up a notch and stop this silent killer dead in its tracks!

Strike the iron of change while it’s hot! We need early diagnosis, better awareness, and manageable treatments. And it starts at the grassroots – a change in diet, a commitment to exercise, the allocation of resources for regular health check-ups.

Better health isn’t a privilege, it’s a right, folks. As a society, as a community, as individuals, we all hold the power to swing the sword against the pressing issue of diabetes fatalities.

There are lives to be saved, legacies to be preserved. So let’s make some noise, challenge the status quo, and make a difference.

The battle against diabetes fatalities is ours to win. Let’s take down this monster, one step at a time!

Remember, each life saved is a victory. Together, we can bring down the curtain on diabetes fatalities in Nigeria. Are you in?

3. Recent studies suggest spike in number of cases due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed complicated the situation, causing healthcare systems around the world to be stretched thin. This, inevitably, has sparked a surge in related complications, including an increase in the number of chronic diseases like diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the burden of diabetes heightened during the pandemic due to several factors such as disruptions to health services, difficulty in accessing medicines, and an increase in risk to people living with diabetes due to an impaired immune response.

Furthermore, the virus itself can lead to new onset diabetes or unmask undiagnosed diabetes. This is primarily because our bodies under stress, like during severe infections, demand more insulin which stressed, infected, or dysfunctional pancreas might not be able to produce.

But remember, knowledge is power. Effective action demands reliable data and dedicated strategies. In responding to this crisis, we must focus on ensuring continuity of care for people living with diabetes.

Let’s not be discouraged. Let’s unite, adapt, and continue to strive for better healthcare, even amidst a pandemic!

4. What is the cost of treating diabetes (type 1 and type 2) per patient per week/month/year?

The cost of treating diabetes varies significantly based on factors such as location, healthcare system, insurance coverage, and individual health needs.

Costs of diabetes treatment in Nigeria can vary greatly based on several factors like the type of diabetes, the stage, individual health circumstances, and the type of medication.

For Type 1 diabetes, patients typically require daily insulin. The cost of insulin can range widely but falls generally between NGN 3,500 to NGN 9,000 per vial, and patients may need multiple vials in a month. When accounting for glucose monitoring supplies and regular clinic visits, the costs can add up significantly.

With Type 2 diabetes, costs can generally be lower, especially if managed with lifestyle modifications and oral medications. However, if insulin is required, costs can increase. The cost of oral medications can vary, but generally ranges between NGN 2,000 and NGN 6000 per month.

According to NIH The monthly mean costs of insulin for those who earned an income was 5212.8 Nigerian naira which is equivalent to 33.1 US dollars and we estimated that persons on a minimum wage would spend 29% of their monthly income on the procurement of insulin, The mean annual direct medical cost of treating a type 2 diabetes patient was ₦232,176.03 ($641.64), the mean annual direct medical cost for patient without complications was ₦163,220 ($447.17) and with complications was ₦244,588.11 ($670.10).

Please note, these are approximate figures and actual costs can vary based on personal circumstances, brand of medication and supplies, dosage, and healthcare provider fees. Healthcare professionals can provide more precise and personalised estimates.

5. What other things are fueling the rise in diabetes in Nigeria?

The rise of diabetes in Nigeria can be attributed to multiple factors:

1. Lifestyle Changes: Rapid urbanization in Nigeria has ushered in a modern lifestyle that is less physically active and more sedentary. Furthermore, dietary changes towards processed foods, which are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, contribute to the rise in diabetes.

2. Obesity: The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity due to unhealthy dietary habits and a lack of physical activity is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Aging Population: As the population ages, the prevalence of diabetes tends to increase, as older age is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

4. Lack of Awareness: Many Nigerians are not aware of the seriousness of diabetes, the risk factors, and how to prevent it, allowing the disease to spread unchecked.

5. Inadequate Healthcare Infrastructure: Lack of regular screening or insufficient access to health services can lead to late diagnosis when the disease has already progressed, increasing the number of people living with diabetes.

6. Genetic Factor: Certain ethnicities have a higher propensity to develop diabetes, including many prevalent in Nigeria.

These are some general factors, but the specific dynamics can vary based on the local context. Education, improving health services, and promoting healthier lifestyles can help combat the rising incidence of diabetes.

7. What are the implications of the surge in cases of diabetes in Nigeria?

The surge in diabetes cases in Nigeria has several implications:

1. Health Implications: Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-limb amputations. Diabetes complications significantly deteriorate quality of life and can lead to premature death.

2. Economic Consequences: Diabetes management and treatment is expensive. It can cause a significant financial burden to individuals, families, and the healthcare system. The indirect costs due to loss of productivity and premature deaths are also considerable.

3. Healthcare System Strain: The increase in diabetes patients puts significant pressure on the healthcare system. It may affect the system’s capacity to manage other health issues because of the need to direct resources towards diabetes care and management.

4. Social Impact: Diabetes can also have a social impact. Patients may experience stigma and discrimination, which can affect their mental health and overall well-being.

Taken together, these implications underscore the urgent need to prioritize diabetes prevention, early detection, and effective management within Nigeria’s public health agenda.

8. What are your recommendations of how to address the morbidity and mortality due to diabetes in Nigeria?

Addressing the morbidity and mortality due to diabetes in Nigeria involves efforts from multiple angles. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Awareness: Intensify public health campaigns to increase awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and complications of diabetes, and the benefits of early detection and management.

2. Health Promotion: Promote healthy eating and physical activity. Encourage schools, workplaces, and communities to create environments that support these behaviors.

3. Access: Improve access to regular screening for early detection and to affordable care and medicines for managing diabetes.

4. Training: Enhance the capacity of healthcare providers to diagnose and manage diabetes, especially at the primary healthcare level.

5. Policy: Implement and enforce policies that promote healthy food environments, such as regulations on marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, food labeling, and promotion of healthier food options.

6. Monitoring: Strengthen the monitoring and surveillance systems to track progress and guide actions.

7. Partnership: Foster partnerships with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, communities and patient groups to mobilize resources, improve care, and advocate for patients’ rights.

8. Research: Promote research to better understand the causes, risk factors, and effective interventions for diabetes in the Nigerian context.

9. Some studies say tailored physical activity and plant based diet can reverse type 2 diabetes. Does herbal medicine have any role as cure/adjunct treatment for diabetes?

Numerous studies indicate lifestyle changes such as physical activity and plant-based diet can control, even reverse type 2 diabetes. However, the role of herbal medicine remains complex. While some herbs and plants have shown potential in managing blood sugar levels, scientific evidence varies significantly.

Moreover, herbal medicines can have side effects, interact adversely with conventional medicines, or vary in potency. Hence, their role should always be considered under medical guidance. There’s also a need for more robust, large-scale clinical trials to conclusively determine their safety and efficacy.

In summary, herbal medicines as a supplementary treatment should be part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, under professional supervision. Also, the fundamental focus should remain on established factors like diet, physical activity, stress management and medication adherence.

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Diabetes is a very complex disease it’s not what most people think

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