The Diabetes Management Association of Liberia DMAL Director, Dr. Daniel Smith, is admonishing Liberians to desist from the consumption of too-much fatty and sugar concentrated food. He said this could be done by observing proper eating habits (balance diet).
Dr. Smith said that if a balanced diet is adhered to by Liberians, the high incidence of diabetes in the country could be reduced.
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism characterized by abnormally high levels of blood sugar in the form of glucose.
The disease occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or when the body’s cells cannot use insulin even if a sufficient amount is available.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) yesterday in Monrovia Mr. Smith said, “When the amount of insulin is inadequate, or when its action is blocked, glucose in the blood cannot be taken into the body’s cells. Glucose continues to accumulate in the blood stream and is passed out of the blood in the urine.”
He disclosed that an estimated 300 million people around the world had diabetes at the turn of the 21lst century, with an alarming number of new cases diagnosed each year.
Noting that despite intensive research, the causes of diabetes mellitus remains unknown; however, medical experts have revealed that some contributing factors to having diabetes include heredity and environmental aspects.
“There are three main types of diabetes mellitus, Type I, or insulin dependent, Type II, and gestational diabetes. Discussing the three main types of diabetes mellitus, Mr. Smith said Type I is insulin dependent and formally known as juvenile-onset diabetes; this is because it often develops during childhood but may occur at any age. Type II or non insulin dependent diabetes occurs in adults and gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women,” detailed Dr. Smith.
Discussing the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, Dr. John Reed said “the presence of glucose in urine is an important sign of diabetes, but it does not provide a definitive diagnosis. Diabetes must be confirmed with a blood test.”
“In one test, glucose is given to the patient in a beverage, after which blood samples are drawn and tested at intervals. Because the pancreas normally responds to a rise in blood sugar by producing more insulin, a high glucose level after several hours indicates insufficient insulin,” Dr. Reed explained.
He continued, “Dietary control is essential for all people with diabetes. People with Type I and Type II diabetes require insulin to control the disease. Dosages are specific to the individual and must be monitored closely.”
He furthered that Type II diabetics can use oral medications to control their blood sugar.
Diabetes can be easily discovered by a glucose tolerance test. A diabetic will have high blood sugar levels long after drinking a glucose solution. Too much insulin can result in weakness, anxiety, depression and even serious convulsions and collapsing. Glucose treatment or surgeries generally remedy this problem.
Meanwhile, the symptoms and complications of Type I diabetes if untreated can lead to a life threatening condition called ketoacidosis; which develops rapidly.
The symptoms include excessive urination diabetes include excessive urination, thirst, and appetite loss and vomiting. If not treated quickly, coma and death may follow.
Symptoms of Type II and gestational diabetes include excessive urination, thirst, hunger, some weight loss and fatigue. These symptoms appear gradually and may even go unnoticed at first.
Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy but it usually disappears after the pregnancy is over.
Women who develop gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing Type II diabetes later in life.
The specialists used the medium to call on Liberians to prevent themselves from getting the incurable disease by staying away from unhealthy foods and exercising regularly.