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Media should sensitize communities on prevention and early detection of Diabetes and High blood pressure


Nov 27, 2022

BUJUMBURA November 23rd (ABP) – On the occasion of the 9th edition of the annual conference of Merck Africa Asia Luminary held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates, Professor Mohsin Sidat from Mozambique made his presentation on the role of the media in sensitizing communities on early detection and the adoption of healthy lifestyles to prevent cardiovascular diseases including diabetes and high blood pressure.

According to Mr. Mohsin, diabetes is an abnormality in the body that causes blood glucose (sugar levels) to rise above its normal value. He explained that when we eat, food is converted into sugar called glucose. Glucose gives the body the energy it needs to function. But in order to be able to use glucose as an energy source, the body needs insulin which is a hormone that acts like a key that opens the door to the body to allow glucose (sugar) to enter. He clarified that diabetes changes the way the body uses or produces that insulin.

He did not forget to point out that there are mainly two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. When a person has type 1 diabetes, their body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly. Type 1 diabetes is more common among young people, stating that only 5% of people with diabetes have that form of the disease, also stating that this disease cannot be avoided. Regarding the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes, he cited frequent urination, excessive thirst, insatiable hunger, alarming weight loss, sudden irritability, weakness and fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it well. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form in people aged 40 and over. That is the most common form of the disease (over 90%). That form develops slowly and the symptoms are less severe. It can be avoided, he added. When it came to signs of type 2 diabetes, he cited frequent, nocturnal urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, unusual tiredness, pigmentation of the skin around the neck and armpits.

For the causes of type 2 diabetes, he indicated that many factors may have influenced the onset of type 2 diabetes. Some are beyond control while others can be influenced.

For non-modifiable risk factors, he cited middle age (>45 years), genetics (family history of diabetes). For modifiable risk factors, he recommended having regular blood sugar checks, following a balanced diet low in carbohydrates and fats, adopting an exercise routine, trying to lose weight in a sustainable way, avoiding smoking, limiting consumption alcohol, prescribed by a doctor, taking oral medications or insulin to control blood sugar. He advised not to discontinue or change the treatment unless the doctor said to do so.

He did not forget to mention that high blood sugar is dangerous explaining that the body fails to use glucose from food as an energy source; glucose accumulates in the blood, which can cause serious problems. He cited nervous system disease (diabetic neuropathy), eye disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, foot pathologies (diabetic foot).

With regard to hypertension (high blood pressure) which appears when the blood pressure rises, i.e. the force with which the blood is forced to circulate in the blood vessels, is constantly too high. He specified that the non-modifiable risk factors are similar to those of type 2 diabetes cited above. For modifiable risk factors, he advised having blood pressure checked at every medical visit, following a balanced low-salt diet (use only 5g of salt daily), adopting an exercise routine, avoiding smoking and limiting Alcohol consumption. He clarified that when high blood pressure is not treated  beforehand, it can cause damage such as stroke, eye disease, heart attack or heart failure, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction and others.

For all those reasons, Professor Mohsin asked the media who were around, including the media from African countries, to play their part in raising awareness among communities on how they can prevent cardiovascular diseases.