Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Diabetes: The Silent Killer

Amputated: Evangeline Sam

Amputated: Evangeline Sam

….World commemorates World Health Day

As the world celebrated World Health Day yesterday, thousands of Namibians continue to form part of the global 422 million people living with diabetes.
World Health Organisation(WHO) said it decided to focus this year’s commemoration on beating diabetes because the epidemic is rapidly     increasing in many countries with the documented increase most dramatic in low- and middle-income countries.
Diabetes and its complications bring about substantial economic loss to people with diabetics and their families.Health systems and national economies are also impacted through direct medical costs and loss of work and wages.
WHO expressed concern “because the major cost drivers are hospital and outpatient care. A contributing factor is the rise in cost for analogue insulins 1 which are increasingly prescribed despite little evidence that they provide significant advantages over cheaper human insulins.”
The Patriot spoke to some  Namibians suffering from the deadly diabetes disease that continues to ravage Namibians.
The disease is a threat to all Namibians, yet many continue to possess limited knowledge about the deadly disease, which continue to affect all age groups.
“I feel calm now that I have changed. I had to accept my sickness and live my life like any other human being. My leg was amputated and what carried me until today was because I accepted my condition and made peace with it,” said Diabetic Evangeline Sam.
The 57-year-old also narrated how her life had to change drastically after being diagnosed.
“I walk long distances every morning and in the evening when it is not too hot. The type of food I eat also had to change to a more balanced and healthy diet. I eat well and drink water and through this I want to encourage other victims to accept their condition and to change their lifestyle completely,” she said.
Another sufferer, Penondjila Iikuyu said: “When I was diagnosed with diabetes I felt dizzy, had strokes and a constant dry mouth.  By losing weight I managed to feel normal and healthy again. Iikuyu added that she weighed 118kg and reduced her weight to 75kg.
“I reduced my weight by cooking the food myself, walking to work and drinking healthy drinks. The weight reduction changed my life. Today I feel normal again,” said the 49-year-old.
“My children had to adapt to my condition and I had to accept it myself over time. It was not easy and it is still not easy. Being diagnosed with diabetes at such an age and playing the role of both mother and father to my family breaks my heart, but I am willing to live better, eat healthier and exercise more so I can live longer for my children” said an 56-year-old man who chose to remain anonymous.
Diabetes is a life threating disease known for being the fifth most common cause of death with effects which are far ranging. The aim of the focus is to increase awareness on the disease and to halt the growth of diabetes all over the world.
This is not just a health issue. A disease that strikes one but affects many thus it is essential that the nation realise and see the need of prevention.
“The disease is the biggest most epidemic growing disease caused by lazy sugar and carbs which are known as refined, processed and preserved foods that are not natural,” said local General Practitioner Dr Andreas Obholzer.
Obholzer also emphasised that sugar and smoking must be taxed because alcohol gets taxed and that it is important that your height divided by 2 fits around your belly. According to him, the belly or thunder thighs are places where you incubate the disease. Excess weight or obesity are the triggers of the disease. “You are not a victim of diabetes but you are the cause of your own     victimization” he added.
“People don’t listen until they feel it in their pockets,”. Local World Health Organisation official, Dr. Dester Tiruneh revealed that 95% of     Namibians suffering from diabetes are affected by type 2 diabetes.
“Yet the victim can delay the occurrence or prevent being a victim by making sure they consume the right drinks, reducing weight, avoiding alcohol and exercise regularly,” said Tiruneh.
“It is not impossible to eat the right food, it is not expensive. People are overwhelmed by healthy guidelines and there are ways to actually have it in your day” said Dietician Charlotte Thiele.
Thiele said: “You can eat as per usual but just make sure you are on the right medication. Patients also need to visit a dietician to get proper advice as to how to go about the food choices for their bodies.”
“The best plate to have for dinner includes vegetables, starch and protein. Yet the biggest part should be vegetables and staying away from alcohol,” she added.
Keeping fit is essential.  Biokeneticist Henry Boshoff said, “The heart and lungs must work, therefore it is best to do resistance training with your own body weight and in general a balanced training session of 30 minutes needs to be accumulated throughout each week.”
2016 WHO report on diabetes
Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980, the World Health Organisation.
The global prevalence (age-standardized) of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population, states the report.
“This reflects an increase in     associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries,” it  further stated.
Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million deaths, by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
According to the report, 43% percent of these 3.7 million deaths occur before the age of 70 years. The percentage of deaths attributable to high blood glucose or diabetes that occurs prior to age 70 is higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
The report also noted that: “Because sophisticated laboratory tests are usually required to distinguish between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, separate global estimates of diabetes prevalence for type 1 and type 2 do not exist.”
Key facts
•    The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
•    The globalprevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014.
•    Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in middle- and low-income countries.
•    Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
•    In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes and another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose.
•    Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose     occur before the age of 70 years1. WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030.
•    Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
•    Diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.
Tips to healthier lifestyle
•    Regulate your salt intake
•    Have protein, vegetablesand starch on your plate
•    Avoid fizzy drinks
•    1 glass of alcohol per day for woman and 2 for men
•    Exercise regularly
•    Normal body weight
•    Educate yourself and see your position to get the helpyou need
•    Check family history

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