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!