Statistics from the World Health Organizations (WHO) indicate that over 425 million people in the world today suffering from diabetes.
Out of this figure, a staggering 16 million people are found on the African continent, a figure which is projected to hit 41 million by 2045 if deliberate measures are not taken to mitigate or halt the current trajectory of the disease.
The WHO considers diabetes as a critical global health problem and a major cause of morbidity, disability and death in many countries.
Its effects are further heightened by the fact that it constitutes a risk factor for other serious chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. In Ghana, the disease is a major cause of adult disability and death.
The President of the Ghana Diabetes Association, Elizabeth Esi Denyo at a Lucozade sponsored diabetes awareness forum at the Women’s Expo in Accra decried the rate of the spread of diabetes in the country when she revealed that three in every ten Ghanaians are living with the disease.
“Contrary to popular belief that diabetes is a disease for the aged, it actually afflicts people of all ages. In 2012, when I became the President of the association, the number of people who were diagnosed were 400,000. Today, that number has grown in proportions that make the disease a public health concern”, Mrs Denyo said.
Beyond the devastating effect of diabetes in terms of morbidity, the cost involved in managing the disease puts unbearable economic burdens on individuals, their families and the nation in general.
The more disturbing issue about these facts is that awareness of the disease among Ghanaians is still very low. A study on the knowledge and awareness of Ghanaians about diabetes by the International Diabetes Federation in 2017 showed that six out of 10 Ghanaians did not know that they have the disease.
It is within this context that the glucose-based recovery drink, Lucozade, decided to partner the Ghana Diabetes Association to embark on a nationwide education campaign on the disease. The partnership, which is in its third year, aims to increase knowledge and awareness of diabetes among Ghanaians.
The vision to reduce the prevalence of diabetes is one that Lucozade is committed to and it is part of the reason why the drink is formulated in a way that makes it recommendable to diabetes patients with Hypoglycemia.
In furtherance of the fight against diabetes, Lucozadepartnered the Ghana Diabetes Association to hold a number of health screenings and health talks across the country and finally commemorated this year’sDiabetes Awareness Day on November 14 at Apam in the Central Region.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Denyoh advocated for a national diabetes control programme to help manage the disease across the country as well as a national plan to drive intensified public education on the prevention of diabetes.
“Not only does Ghana need to train nurses and other health workers on diabetes so they can intensify public education, but the country also needs a national control programme that will aid the management of the disease”, Mrs Denyoh said.
The Brand Manager of Lucozade Ghana and West Africa, Gloria Ofori, called for deliberate measures to create awareness of the disease in the country its prevalent rate. She further assured Lucozade’s continuous support to create awareness and for prevention of diabetes in Ghana.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood sugar. It is normally caused by the absence or insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas to lower blood sugar.
The disease comes in two types – type one, which is genetic and requires a lifetime of insulin dependence and type two, which is caused by lifestyle practices such as bad eating habits, lack of exercise, obesity amongst others.
Symptoms of the disease include sexual weakness in men, low libido in women, excessive eating and drinking of water, and frequent urination.
For those who already have diabetes, it is advised that they stick consistently to their medication, visit the hospital regularly, exercise regularly and adhere strictly to diets recommended by their physicians.
Mrs Ofori said these disease management tips are critical because if diabetes is not managed carefully, it can lead the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart disease.