Diabetes Mellitus: A Preventable Disease. Written By Dr. Ejike Udeze

Almost everyone I know, knows about diabetes mellitus, even the ten-year old I was discussing with the other day said it’s a problem with urinating. But it seems that not everyone knows it can hugely be avoided. As diabetes cannot be cured but only controlled, prevention will assume the role of the best cure.

And so I was chatting with a friend of mine some days ago. In between she mentioned her mother was not so long ago diagnosed with diabetes. Next my preventive medicine mode kicked in. She’s in her early twenties. Hence came this talk. Designated for all age groups but mostly for people under middle age.

Yes diabetes can be avoided by learning and implementing some good diet and lifestyle habits. Even though diabetes Mostly starts manifesting after the age of fifty, these habits are better learnt and put into practice from very early in life.

THE GOOD DIEATARY HABITS

These include eating of healthy diet such as fruits and vegetables daily. When it comes to carbohydrates, eating more of un processed starchy ones like cassava(akpu), garri, yam, etc is better than eating processed foods. This is so because un processed foods take longer time to digest. Hence releasing glucose slowly. Therefore intakes of sweetened refined foods such as sugar containing drinks, sweetened beverages, ice-cream, etc should be reduced. As these are already highly processed they get easily digested, releasing glucose almost immediately into the bloodstream. Repeating such assaults over the years might overwhelm the body leading to diabetes. Likewise, too much of fatty foods is not good, these should be cut down too.

Excessive alcohol consumption should also be stopped. Little alcohol containing drinks here and there everyday is even good for the health in Normal individuals. But too much of it can damage the organ (pancreas) implicated in diabetes.

LIFESTYLE HABITS

Exercise can never be over emphasised in the daily life of humans. Regular physical activity, in the form of walking, jogging, running, swimming, cycling, Soccer, etc for at least 30 minutes Daily is the prescription. Exercise helps reduce the burden on the pancreas hence prolonging it’s longevity.

Obesity has been noted as a prominent factor in people with diabetes. Regular and persistent daily exercise helps in fat reduction and weight loss.

BREAST FEEDING AND DIABETES PREVENTION

Giving your baby cow milk early in infancy has been implicated in the development of diabetes. Cow milk contains some cow proteins which the baby reacts to making him develop diabetes later in life. Hence it’s always one of the counselling points in support of giving your baby only human breast milk for the first six months of life.

GENES AND DIABETES
Genetics has a role to play in diabetes. Hence diabetes can be said to run in some families. But environmental factors such as the above mentioned bad diet and lifestyle habits can and do interplay with the genes to cause diabetes.

Therefore if one has a relative, the parent or sibling who is already a diabetic, the onus lies on him or her to safeguard his or her future by learning and living these saving lifestyles.

A stitch in time they say saves nine.

EJIKE UDEZE
Ejike Udeze is a health personnel at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). Ejike is always in search of new medical discoveries and breakthrough. You can reach him on Facebook with his name “ Ejike Udeze. “

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