According new findings from the Federal Ministry of Health, five million Nigerian adults are diabetic and half of that population are unaware of their status, which unfortunately leads to their death.

The Supervising Minister of Health, Dr Khaliru Alhassan stated this during a recent press briefing to commemorate the World Diabetes Day.

He lamented that the disease is becoming an epidemic in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. He stated that the condition is now quite prevalent among adolescents and young adults.

“This is partly due to the rapid socio-cultural change being experienced in most developing countries leading to the adoption of new lifestyle and risky behaviours,” he said.

Alhassan maintained that “the modifiable shared risk factors for diabetes include tobacco use, unhealthy nutrition, physical inactivity and harmful use if alcohol”.

Charging Nigerians to take their health seriously, Alhassan said, “diabetes, if discovered lately or managed poorly can lead to common complications such as diabetic gangrene which often leads to amputation of the lower limb, chronic renal failure, hypertension, visual impairment or blindness and multiple organ damaged associated with atherosclerosis.

The WHO country representative, Dr Rui Gama Vaz who was represented by Mary Stevens said that 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and in 2012, about 1.5 million deaths resulted from diabetes alone.

“More than 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low middle income countries. In sub-Sahara Africa, it is estimated that 8 per cent of the population above 25 years have diabetes,” he explained.

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