In 2013 there were over 380 million people living with diabetes mellitus and by 2035, the number is estimated to be over 590 million. About 5.1 million people died of diabetes in 2013 and the number is expected to rise in subsequent years.

Africa will experience one of the highest increases in the world. The greater number of undiagnosed cases are in Africa.

Every 6 seconds a person dies of diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes mellitus occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood becomes persistently higher than normal which affects the body’s ability to utilize glucose, proteins and fats.  This is caused by problem in secretion of insulin (hormone or chemical responsible for controlling blood sugar levels), action of insulin or both.

The four common symptoms are:

  •  excessive thirst
  •  Passing large amounts of urine.
  •  Tiredness.
  • Weight loss with or without eating excessively.

How diabetes adversely affects the human body

1. Angina, heart attacks, stroke, heart failure

2. Kidney damage

3. Eye problems which can affect vision and lead to blindness

4. Nerve damage.

5. Foot problems with ulcers which can lead to amputation

6. Impotence due to poor circulation and nerve damage etc.

Others include

High cost of living among people with diabetes

Eg. Money spent for tests, medications, admissions

Sickness and hospital attendance leading to unproductivity

People losing their earnings through premature death.

What is prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose but not within the range that qualifies to be labelled diabetes.

There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes however some few people have experienced, increasing thirst, frequency of urination and even worse at night, poor vision and tiredness.

If you have prediabetes, then you can easily develop type 2 diabetes mellitus. However it is a condition that can easily be dealt with without progression to diabetes mellitus if you stay committed ( see part II of this article for further information )

If after an overnight fast( about 8 hours and your early morning blood glucose is 6.1-6.9 mmol/l then you may be having prediabetes or  if yourt random blood glucose is greater or equal to 11.1mmol/l.

See table below.

Parameter                   NormalDiabetespre-diabetes 
1Fasting Plasma Glucose (mmol/l)  <6.1≥7 (126mg/dl)6.1-6.9 (110125mg/dl) 
22-h plasma glucose on OGTT (mmol/l)<7.8≥11.1 (200mg/dl)7.8-11 (140199mg/dl)    
3Random plasma glucose (mmol/l)<7.8 (140 g/dL)≥11.1–       
4A1C %<5.7≥6.55.7 – 6.4 

To be continued…

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