About five million Nigerians are diabetic and another nine million have prediabetes, a pharmacist, Oluseyi Adenowo, said on Saturday in Awka.
Mr Adenowo, also a diabetes advocate, made the disclosure in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria to commemorate the ‘Diabetes Awareness Week 2020’.
The Diabetes Awareness week is marked from June 8 to June 14 every year, to raise awareness about the disease.
He described diabetes as the fastest growing non-communicable disease of the 21st century, which he said, had no cure but could be prevented or managed.
According to him, there are two types of diabetes; type1 and type2, which are common among young, middle and aged people.
“Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat.
“Millions of Nigerians are affected by diabetes and many of them do not know about it until they enter the complication stage, hence the need for awareness.
“According to the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2019, about five million Nigerians are diabetic and another nine million have prediabetes.
“Africa has the highest proportion of undiagnosed people and three in every five people living with diabetes, do not know they have it,’’ he said.
Mr Adenowo explained that diabetes was preventable, adding that early detection and instituting proper management could help improve the quality of life for diabetics.
He identified lifestyle changes, public awareness and massive blood sugar screening, as main strategies to prevent the disease.
“Anyone can be diabetic.
“The risk factors include family history, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high triglycerides, physically inactivity, if you are prediabetes and had gestational diabetes.
“Diabetes is a health condition that can have a major impact on patient’s life and when not properly managed, lead to other health problems.
“It is desirable that every adult about 21 years of age, should have basic knowledge of diabetes, its symptoms, risk factors and complications.
“If you are 45 years and above, talk to your healthcare professional, carry out checks to know your numbers and be advised appropriately.’’
The pharmacist identified the urge to urinate often, feeling thirsty often, feeling tired often, blurry vision, unintentional weight loss, wounds and infections taking longer to heal as some of the common symptoms of the disease.