Diabetes is described as the commonest endocrine disorder in the world. Dr. Mrs. Chidimma Nwatu a Consultant Endocrinologist with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, made this known during her lecture in the recently concluded 4th Town Hall meeting of the hospital.

According to Dr. Nwatu, Diabetes in simple terms is a medical condition where a person has high sugar or high blood glucose in the bloodstream. She said that the lack of the hormone insulin in the blood or when it is not functioning optimally can lead to diabetes. She said that the hormone insulin does not only regulate glucose metabolism but can also control carbohydrates by breaking them into simple sugar called glucose. Furthermore, she stressed that this glucose is what the body cells need to function.

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Diabetes is caused by the lack of the hormone insulin. Photo credit: medicalnewstoday.com

Dr. Nwatu told the audience that diabetes is caused by the inability of insulin to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, among others, into absorbable glucose. She said this condition gives rise to a situation where they are stored up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed into the blood cells.

Patients with high blood glucose lose weight and feel tired because the body cells are not getting enough energy needed to function properly. Because they are not absorbed into the cells, they pass through the kidney and are excreted in the urine.

She warns that if the high blood glucose in the bloodstream is not absorbed they become, poisonous to different organs in the body, then cause complications that give rise to diabetes. According to her, the unabsorbed glucose acts like acid, burning the inside of blood vessels, and if not controlled can result in stroke, heart, and leg attacks.

Dr. Nwatu explained that three types of diabetes have been identified.

There are three types of Diabetes. Photo credit: somatechnology.com

Type I diabetes is a condition in which the cells begin to fight each other. This is known as autoimmune disease, which is more common in younger people.

Type Il diabetes is the commonest, about 90% of people suffering from diabetes fall into this category. This situation is present when the insulin produced by the body is not enough, thereby inhibiting the absorption of glucose into the blood cells.

Type III diabetes is mainly pregnancy-induced.

On how to prevent or reduce the prevalence of diabetes, Dr. Nwatu advised that everyone need to eat balanced diets and have enough fruits and vegetables in their natural forms.

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Story by Angela Oriaku