Reasons why diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in a person cannot be a death sentence again

For the Okons, a huge  cloud  fell over their  household when 60 year old Mrs Okon was found to have diabetes  mellitus on a routine medical visit. Her first reaction was to reject the doctor’s pronouncement. “It is not my  portion”, Mrs Okon replied the doctor. At home, Mr Okon and the children  concurred that “it’s not our portion”.

For  several weeks, Mrs Okon refused to  take the  oral medications which she thought was for the newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus. She, also, refused to  adhere to the dietary restrictions prescribed by the doctor.

In the  next couple of weeks,  the  symptoms of diabetes mellitus were  becoming more and more obvious in her. It was after  a visit to another medical  consultant who, also, confirmed  the  ailment that she decided to accept the diagnosis. When it dawned on the household that the situation is real,  she was depressed, worried and anxious. She asked several questions which included:

“God,  why me? “.

“When  will it be over? “.

“Don’t  eat this, don’t eat that, for how long? “.

“I do not take sugar much, how  come  diabetes for me? ”

“My parents never had diabetes mellitus, where did this one come from?”

These were some of her numerous unanswered questions. This  reaction of the  Okons to the  diabetes  mellitus challenge was not out of place. Most people living with diabetes reacted  in similar way at the onset of their illnesses.

The question now goes:  is the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus a death sentence? Is it  the end of the road for someone diagnosed with the illness?

Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is,  definitely, NOT a death sentence! Reasons abound to  support this stand.

Firstly,  diabetes mellitus is just one of several diseases like hypertension, obesity,  cancers, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, senile dementia and  so on. They are not  curable but people live with them and  age gracefully. People have lived with diabetes for 20, 30, 40 or more  years.  It, rather,  calls for some discipline, cost burden and some bodily inconveniences.

A second  reason why diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is  not a death sentence is because with the current advances in medical sciences and surgical procedures coupled with the current understanding of diabetes mellitus as a metabolic disease, many patients with type 2 diabetes have it reversed or “cured” after  bariatric surgery is performed especially for those who are obese. Again, some  dietary manipulations such as use of low-carb diets,  intermittent fasting or use of ketotic diets have been promising in people living with  type  2 diabetes.  For type 1 diabetes  mellitus, bio-engineered pancreatic B-cells have  been used to cure it when  implanted on someone. More so,  many scientists are  currently in the laboratories in many parts of the world working assiduously to  get a  cure for diabetes. This  could  happen any day from now!

Finally,  with a positive  mental attitude. one  soon realizes that one can  live and age gracefully with diabetes mellitus. It’s just  a cross  one  may be  called  upon to carry. Just imagine the case of someone living with diabetes who confessed  recently  that  having  diabetes is one of the best things that  ever happened to  her.  Because of  her understanding of the disease,  she  has been invited  to many  countries  of the  world  and at different  fora to make  speeches and give lectures on diabetes.  That’s positive living with diabetes!”.

On the contrary, if one decides to  see only  the  ugly side of  diabetes, then, it can be so. The choice is ours…..to view diabetes with a positive or negative  mental attitude.

 

Revealed: why diabetes self management education is so important today for people living with diabetes

On that  day, August 15, 2016, Teejay, a 51  year old successful motor spare parts trader went to the medical outpatient  clinic  of the  General hospital  in Akure to  complain about his unexplained weight loss despite his good appetite and some feelings  of  fatigue and general body weakness. All these  while,  he had assumed nothing was wrong with  him  but this time,  he went to the hospital because he needed the reassurance from the  medical officer that all was well.

But,  to his greatest surprise, at the end of the day, he was  told that he had Diabetes mellitus.  Just like that!

Some oral medications were prescribed for him and he was told to come back again in two weeks for a check up.  Before the  reality of Teejay’s new health status could sink into him,  the consulting medical officer rang his bell and shouted “next patient “. The staff nurse  working with the doctor quickly ushered in the  next  patient.

Two weeks  later,  Mr Teejay kept the appointment  and was attended to by the  same busy  doctor.  The situation is not different from the private health institutions where  the doctor who doubles as the manager /accountant is also saddled  with administrative, personal and  clinical responsibilities. Such busy doctor,  therefore,  does not have the time to educate newly diagnosed diabetic patients and the old ones. Even in Teaching /tertiary hospitals that run specialized diabetes clinic, the task of educating diabetic patients is given a half -hearted attention.

The  resultant effect is that the  diabetic patients and their  caregivers know little or nothing  about the illness and what they can contribute to make the  tasks of caring for them easier. Because nature abhors a vacuum, such diabetic patients  are soon stuffed with false facts and superstitions by the  man in the  streets and charlatans. They share these false and distorted  information with other persons living with diabetes.

However,  diabetes mellitus is one illness where patient’s education  plays a  vital role towards the proper  management of the patients. When diabetic patients are well educated,  the patients make  some significant inputs to self-care. It makes the job easier for the doctors and for the patients less expensive  with a better quality of life.

It is in view of the above scenario that  this blog was created. To share with our diabetic patients all the facts and information that will make the journey a less turbulent one for the supervising physicians, people living with diabetes and their  caregivers. We hope to,  as much as possible,  demystify the  disease entity called  Diabetes Mellitus by responding to your questions, comments and worries.

Bon voyage!

 

Diabetes Mellitus – the stark realities before us!

Years ago,  diabetes mellitus(DM) was regarded as a disease  of the affluent, the rich in the society. Today, the picture has changed.  The poor, rich, middle class, youths, middle aged, elderly and even children are now being afflicted by DM.

By the  year 2013, about 371 million people  in the  world were  living with  DM and  about  5 million Nigerians were affected. Prevalence of DM in Nigeria  varies depending on the locality…. low in the  rural areas (0.6% in rural Mangu in the North) but 6.8% and 11.0% in Portharcourt and  Lagos respectively. The prevalence of DM worldwide is increasing and it is  projected by the  World Health Organization (WHO)  that 552 million people will be living with DM by 2030.

With this scenario, a battle line is drawn between DM, obesity,  hypertension, cancers and other non-communicable diseases on one side versus the  rest of us. We cannot fold our arms and  pretend  that  nothing is going on wrong.

On our  side, we need a TEAM.  A formidable  team, indeed, with the following  team players to be  recruited:

1. People living  with  diabetes

2. Caregivers  of people living with  diabetes

3. First degree relatives of people living with  diabetes

4. People  rendered fatherless or and  motherless by diabetes mellitus

5. Health care professionals – which includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical  laboratory scientists etc

6. Pharmaceutical companies

7. Government of the  day

8.  The  rest of the population who are  without diabetes now.

This blog  – www.diabetesxperts.com – is born out of  a necessity to  serve as the  COACH of the proposed  team. To equip  the team with  all it takes to:

a.  Prevent diabetes mellitus

b.  Live and  age gracefully with DM and

c.  Have a much  less  turbulent  journey living with DM.

I will conclude  this  opening post of the blog by saying:

We are the  world

We are  the  children

We are the ones  to make a brighter day

So,  let’s start giving!!

I am convinced that  as a TEAM,  we will  win the  battle over diabetes  mellitus. Yes,  together we can!