Diabetes Mellitus: The Silent Killer | By: Dr. Femi Ajose
The General Outpatient Department (GOPD) of our health facility had in attendance Mrs Williams, a 53 year old mother of 2 who just rose to the peak of her career in the Academic field (Professorship).
She greeted the consulting room presenting complains of recurrent throbbing headache, blurred vision, excessive urination, pin and needle-like sensation on both legs and gradual but significant weight loss.
Prof. Williams was thoroughly examined physically and subjected to series of laboratory investigations which include but not limited to Random Blood Sugar(RBS), Urinalysis, Full Blood Count, MP/Widal et al.
The results were pointing to a diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus, amidst other signs and symptoms.
Like most patients would do, she quickly rejected the diagnosis in the name of God and blamed it on some of her colleagues who are envious of her new status in her career.
Prof. went traditional in a bid to fight back at the enemies that never existed.
Just barely 3weeks after we diagnosed Prof.(Mrs), she was rushed into our Emergency unit, but this time looking frail,with a damaged brain-stroke, total blindness, leg swelling. Before any life saving attempts, she died! It was a disheartening scenario to see a learned fellow die of complications of Diabetes, that are not beyond medical management. #sigh.
WHAT THEN IS DIABETES MELLITUS (DM)?
Diabetes is a group of Non-Communicable (can’t be transferred by contact), Metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar either because the pancreas are not producing enough insulin or because the cells aren’t responding to the insulin produced.
After a meal, the level of glucose in the blood rises. In response to the increase blood glucose level, the pancreas normally release insulin into the blood stream to help glucose enter all cells of the body.
In Diabetes,because the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin,sugar from the food is not properly used throughout the body. Instead, glucose is passed out of the body in urine form.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF DIABETES?
Diabetes are of different types as these help with the line of medical care and management.
TYPE 1 DM (Juvenile onset or Insulin dependent)
This type of DM affects the children more and some adults. It was traditionally termed juvenile diabetes as it affects children more.
People usually develop Type 1 before 40yrs, often in early adulthood or teen age years.
This type of DM isn’t as common as the other types. The sufferers will need insulin injections for the rest of their lives and will also be following a modified diet.
TYPE 2DM (Adult onset, Non-insulin dependent)
This is the most common type of diabetes. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. This type of DM is typically a progressive disease,it gradually gets worse and patient will probably end up taking insulin in tablet form.
This occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of DM develop a high blood glucose level. This resembles Type 2 DM in several ways. It most times disappears after delivery and sometimes may precede to a typical Type 2DM. There are associated risks to the baby too which will be managed by a physician.
Other types include: Pre-diabetes, Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Of Adult(LADA),and Maturity Onset Dibates Mellitus Of the Young (MODY)
Who’s is at risk of DM?
1. Anyone with a positive family history of Diabetes. That is anyone with a family member with DM. Especially the parents.
2. Overweight and Obese person have a much higher risk of developing Type 2DM. (Belly fat especially)
3. Sedentary life style. Physically inactive people, those who don’t do exercise at al.
4. Diet: Eating and drinking wrongly! Alcohol, high carbohydrate food and high fatty food are culprits.
5. Men with low Testosterone are at risk too.
6. Any co-existing cardiovascular diseases. For instance anybody with history of long standing hypertension, especially the poorly treated ones.
What are the warning signs?
1. Polyuria: Excessive urination,especially during sleep at night till the next morning and during the day too.
2. Polydypsia: Excessive thirst,even in cold environment.
3. Polyphagia: Eating more than normal.
4. Significant weight loss irrespective of heavy food intake.
5. Feeling of dehydration
6. Blurring of vision
7. Easy fatigue
8. General body weakness
9. Any sore/wound in the body that have refused to heal
10. Feeling of numbness of any part of the body
11. Ants seen around urine.
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS?
It is pertinent to note that Diabetes affects all the vital organs of the body.
1. BRAIN: infections or any other insult to the brain leading to paralysis,coma and or death.
2. EYES: Glaucoma,cataract and blindness( Retinopathy)
3. HEART: when blood supply to the heart is altered,there’s a possibility of cardiac arrest and or death when not given immediate attention.
5. Erectile dysfunction in male (Loss of libido/ premature ejaculation)
6. FOOT. Gangrenous ulcer that may lead to amputation
7. Poor wound healing
8. Recurrent infections.
9. Recurrent miscarriage in women.
10. Big baby syndrome (Macrosomia) in pregnancy,which may lead to operative delivery. (C/S)
HOW DO I SCREEN MYSELF?
This simple act can prevent future regrets.
Just walk into any hospital or laboratory and request to do a diabetes screening.
HOW DO I THEN MANAGE MYSELF AS A DIABETIC PATIENT?
Sadly,but the truth! DM has no known cure.. The good news also is that it can be managed optimally under strict physician supervision.
You can as well manage your DM from home, under strict instructions too.
THE FOLLOWING WILL HELP MANAGEMENT OF DM
1. Get your own Glucometer to have an up to date check of your blood sugar which averts the complications of diabetes.
2. DIET: Be conscious of what goes into your mouth. It’s the basis of sound health. Stay put whatever dietary prescriptions you’ve been given.
3. REGULAR EXERCISE: Don’t just sit in a place. Take a walk, it aids metabolism. You burn the fat and the glucose too.
4. Most importantly, don’t throw to the bin the instructions of your physician.
Religion is good but don’t juxtapose its place in health issues. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
We conducted a research on Diabetes and some people told us Diabetes is a punishment from the witches. Funny isn’t it?
If professor (Mrs) Williams hadn’t neglect medical advice, she would probably be alive today.
I hope I have been able to give an overview of this societal evil called Diabetes Mellitus.
Please direct all correspondence to: email@example.com
Dr.Ajose Oluwafemi is a Medical Doctor, an international Public Speaker, Best Selling Author/ Columnist, International Human Development Coach. He’s Africa’s leading voice on Diabetes and Hypertension Care and Management and Principal Consultant, Ambassador’s Consult,