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Diabetes Awareness: Collective effort to prevention and treatment is key – Endocrinologist

Dr. Cecilia Kootin-Sanwu, an Endocrinologist, has called for a coordinated national effort to prevent and cure diabetes.

This is due to the disease gradually progressing to a pandemic throughout the country.

‘The diabetes pandemic is growing, we all need to put our hands on the wheel, we need to educate ourselves, family members and the general public to go for regular checkups to determine whether we stand the risk of getting diabetes or we have it already since early diagnose and treatment can prevent complications,’ she said.

Dr. Kootin-Sanwu, who is also a Senior Physician Specialist at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and an Executive Member of the Diabetes Endocrine and Metabolic Society of Ghana, was speaking at a public lecture on ‘Diabetes and its complications.’

The lecture, organised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), was in commemoration of the diabetes awareness month.

It was also intended to improve the understanding of diabetes, which is a public health concern, among health workers, s
tudents, and the general public.

Diabetes Mellitus, also known as type two (2) diabetes is a metabolic disorder where there is high glucose in the human body.

According to research, Africa is the only sub-region that has seen a more than 100 per cent increase in diabetes, with almost 80 per cent of diabetics residing in low and middle-income nations such as Ghana.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) placed Ghana as the sixth among other countries in the sub-region with a high prevalence of diabetes.

Globally, 463 million people live with diabetes, and the figure is estimated to increase to 700 million by 2045.

In Ghana, over 280,000 of the adult population (20 to 79 years) had diabetes in 2019 and that figure is also projected to rise to over 680,000 in 2045.

‘All of these figures are underestimation, there are many people out there who do not know their status and the majority of Ghanaians do not want to go to the hospital until something happens,’ Dr Kootin-Sanwu said:

‘If for nothing at all, at leas
t give yourself that gift on your birthday and go to the hospital for a total screening to know your risk of getting diabetes or if your blood pressure is high, check for cholesterol so that together, we can all help to beat the growing pandemic,’ she added.

Dr. Kootin-Sanwu stated that if Ghanaians do not take the appropriate precautions by changing their lifestyles and getting regular checkups to determine their status and risk of developing diabetes, as well as early treatment, the disease’s projections in Ghana may come true.

She expressed concern that the disease was getting worse, affecting many people under the age of 60 with stroke and cardiovascular issues, robbing the country of its most productive workforce.

Dr Kootin-Sanwu said uncontrolled diabetes could lead to stroke, a higher risk of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failures, nerve damage, amputations, and death.

‘Most of the people who are coming to see us in the clinics and emergency rooms have got strokes at age 35, 45 all the
way up to age 50 and the majority of our deaths in the hospital is coming from stroke these days all because the underlying problems are diabetes and hypertension so it goes just beyond the sugar. All your organs can be affected so we need to take better care of ourselves and have a healthy screening habit,’ she said.

The Senior Physician Specialist advised the public to change their lifestyles by eating a well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and avoiding saturated fats, carbonated drinks, and reducing sugar and salt in their meals.

‘Our lifestyles have changed, many people have moved from being very active, majority of us are having to sit in cars early in the morning, go to work, sit through work and then come back home with very little physical activity, it is not advisable to sit for too long ….at least taking a walk is very important and can prevent one from getting diabetes.’

Dr Kootin-Sanwu expressed hope that the recently developed national diabetes guidelines
would be very helpful for all health workers across the country.

‘We know that there are not many specialists in diabetes all over the country, but at least with that guide, they can be able to give the patient the care that they need.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

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