According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.6 million deaths annually are attributed to diabetes with the majority being from low and middle-income countries. Senior Nurse Joyce Gitangu, the Nurse in Charge at AAR Sarit Outpatient Centre, offers insight into the disease as the world commemorates Diabetes Awareness Month in November and World Diabetes Day on 14th November.

What is diabetes disease?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

There are three types of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetic factors and autoimmune diseases where the body's immunity fights and destroys the insulin-producing cells.

Its cause and prevention are unknown. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s inability to use insulin effectively. The majority of people with diabetes have type 2. This type of diabetes is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Then there is gestational diabetes, which occurs when high blood sugar is first identified during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes complicates the pregnancy and delivery and so we normally advise mothers to have their blood sugar monitored during their pregnancy.

What symptoms should people be on the lookout for?

Signs and symptoms of diabetes

For type 1 and type 2, most of the symptoms are similar and include frequent urination, increased thirst, increased appetite coupled with weight loss, changes in vision and fatigue. If you have a family history of diabetes or obesity, it is also important to get your blood sugar level checked regularly.

How can the general public get involved in the fight against diabetes?
For starters, parents need to provide their kids with a blueprint for healthy living by ensuring that they eat right and ensure physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily. The government also needs to put in place policies that support healthy living as well as create awareness.

As AAR Healthcare, our contribution is in offering quality treatment for diabetics, monitoring their treatment and encouraging our other patients to get regular screening for diabetes. We also carry out medical camps in the community periodically to raise awareness through health education, conducting tests and offering nutritional advice.

Get your copy of the November issue to find out more about Diabetes.

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Featured image: Everyday Health

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