Let's Talk about Health in Africa
Insights and analysis from leaders shaping public health in Africa to help you make sense of the issues.
Geneva: Switzerland: Lenias Hwenda is a global health policy expert with a passion for improving access to quality affordable treatments.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin.
The most common in African countries is type 2 diabetes which results from the body not effectively using insulin. It accounts for more than 85% of the cases. About 90% of people with diabetes around the world have type-2 diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity and major risk factors.
Type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependent. It usually occurs during childhood. It accounts for about 10% of cases. People suffering from it do not produce enough insulin production. They must correct this using daily administration of insulin. It is often diagnosed late, several years after onset, when complications often have already set in because its symptoms are less marked. Diabetes can also occur during pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. It accounts for 5% of cases.
Its symptoms include excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. Different types of diabetes require different treatments.
Whilst diabetes is not curable, type 2 diabetes, and most of its complications are mostly preventable. Diabetes is serious due to its complications. Common effects of uncontrolled diabetes include elevated levels of blood sugar, which over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. Blindness, result from long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, and the development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is also among the leading causes of kidney failure. When it is not treated, diabetes can lead to damage to the heart and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, an estimated 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease, primarily heart disease and stroke.
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