Improve Health Outcomes with Access to Diabetes Care

Caleb Ihuarulam

Caleb Ihuarulam

As we commemorate the 2023 World Diabetes Day with the theme “Access to Diabetes Care,” we stand committed to empowering you with knowledge for a healthier, brighter future. Diabetes, though a prevalent condition, is manageable with the right tools and information. This guide focuses on key aspects—diet, lifestyle, early screening, and treatment—to help you take charge of your well-being and prevent complications.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the cells in one’s pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells use glucose for energy.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of Diabetes. It occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

The number of people living with Diabetes in Africa is expected to grow.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and its prevalence continues to increase at an alarming rate. The WHO shared the following statistics about prevalent rates in Africa.

  • About 3 in 4 adults with the condition live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The total number of people with the condition in Africa is predicted to increase by 129% to 55 million by 2045.
  • There were 3.6 million cases  in Nigeria in 2021, and only about 25% were estimated to be diagnosed and receiving treatment.
  • Less than 5.4% were estimated to have achieved the recommended glycemic target of HbA1c below 7%.

How do people develop Diabetes?

Anyone can get Diabetes, but certain risk factors can increase the chances of developing the disease, such as:

  • Family history
  • Age (over 45 years old)
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Gestational Diabetes (Occurs during pregnancy)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

What Are the symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms of Diabetes can vary depending on the type and how severe it is. Some common symptoms of include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

Use Access to Diabetes care to prevent, delay, or manage condition

There is no guaranteed way to prevent Diabetes, but improving one’s lifestyle and behavioural pattern has been proven to give the best outcomes. There are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Stress Management
  • Good sleep pattern
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting regular checkups from your doctor

Early screening: Knowledge is power

Early screening and treatment are essential for preventing complications from Diabetes. Those with the condition are at increased risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

If you have any of the symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor can test your blood sugar levels to diagnose the condition. If you have Diabetes, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your condition and reduce your risk of complications.

Regular health checkups are your shield against unseen threats. Early detection is key to effective diabetes management. Don’t wait for symptoms; make screening a routine. It empowers you to take control of your health journey, allowing for timely interventions and personalized care.

Diet: Nourish your body, control the disease:

Understanding the impact of your food choices is vital. Opt for a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive carbs. Portion control is your ally; savour every bite mindfully. By making mindful food choices, you not only manage your condition but also cultivate a lifestyle that promotes overall health.

Here are some tips for eating a healthy diet with Diabetes:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains.
  • Choose lean protein sources, such as fish, chicken, and beans.
  • Limit saturated and unhealthy fats. Choose low-fat dairy products and healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts.
  • Limit sugary drinks and processed foods.

Here are more food measures to take with Diabetes.

Lifestyle: Embrace healthy habits

Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of diabetes management. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Whether it’s a brisk walk, dancing, or cycling, find an activity you enjoy. Beyond exercise, prioritize quality sleep and stress management. These elements contribute to better blood sugar control and overall well-being.

Here are some tips for exercising regularly with Diabetes:

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Choose exercises that you enjoy, and that fit into your lifestyle.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.
  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Use remote health monitoring to improve your outcomes.

Remote Patient Monitoring platforms empower you to monitor your health at your convenience. It securely transmits your health data to healthcare providers, facilitating timely adjustments to your treatment plan. It’s not just about managing Diabetes; it’s about living life to the fullest with a proactive and personalized approach to your well-being. To learn more about how to use remote patient monitoring to improve your outcomes, kindly visit www.platoshealth.com

Reliance Health partners with Platos Health to help diabetes patients manage their conditions better. See more at the end of the article. 

Act Today for a Healthier Tomorrow

If diagnosed with Diabetes, swift and decisive action is crucial. Follow your healthcare provider’s guidance on medications, insulin, or other treatments. Consistent self-monitoring and regular medical checkups ensure that your treatment plan evolves with your changing health needs. Remember, proactive care today prevents complications tomorrow.

What happens if you do nothing?

Diabetes can lead to several serious complications, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Amputations
Conclusion:

This International Diabetes Day, let’s break barriers to access diabetes care. Your journey to a healthier life starts with simple yet powerful steps—nutritious eating, active living, regular screening, and timely treatment. By embracing these principles, you not only control Diabetes but also unlock a life filled with vitality and joy. Let’s prioritize our health and make every day an opportunity for wellness.

This information is brought to you by Reliance Health in partnership with Platos Health. The article was reviewed by Itopa Jimoh, MBBS, MPH, DrPH (Chief Medical Advisor at Platos Health)

Healthcare plans from Reliance Health provide access to care, including medication management for several chronic conditions. For Diabetes, we partner with Platos Health to give you the required medical hands to manage your condition. You can access this plan as part of your overall healthcare package from Reliance Health. Click here to get started, or send the link to your HR.  

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Caleb Ihuarulam

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