Nigeria: Govt Must Create Enabling Environment to Tackle Diabetes - Dr Afoke Isiavwe

23 November 2020

An endocrinologist, Dr Afoke Isiavwe has charged the Federal government to enact realistic policies that would help create an enabling environment for Nigerians to live healthily in body, mind and soul in order to avoid coming down with diabetes.

Isiavwe, who is the Managing Director, Rainbow Specialist Medical Centre, Lagos, noted that as one of the five pillars of good health, an environment that is conducive for wellness remains non-negotiable for the prevention, control and management of diabetic disorders in the country.

Speaking at the weekend during a webinar series entitled "Understanding Your Wellness 14: Diabetes" Isiavwe explained that the best protection against the complications of diabetes is prevention against the disease in the first place.

"There should be policies in place in Nigeria to ensure that people are able to exercise every day so that they do not come down with diabetes. Lagos is a bit saner nowadays, but we do not have enough gardens and parks or pedestrian walk paths for people to go about exercising. What we need are enabling policies to help create an environment that is conducive for wellness."

Regretting the surge in diabetes cases being recorded in Nigeria in recent times, Isiavwe called on Nigerians to adopt good stress management approaches.

"Stress plays a big role in diabetes risk. There is a stress hormone called cortisol and if you are under stress, your body produces a lot of this cortisol which inhibits the action of insulin. If you are under a lot of stress, you are building up a lot of cortisol. There is no known cure for diabetes currently, but it can be 'reversed' using the surgical procedure and calorie-restrictive diet, however, the best treatment or cure is not to have it in the first place through a healthy lifestyle, exercise, diet, and weight control.

Further, Isiavwe said the best protection for complications of diabetes is prevention and getting the sugar well controlled. She said vegetables such as bitter leaf should be added to the diet.

"Bitter leaf contains fibres that tend to increase the glycaemic index of the food, so people can benefit from ingestion of the naturally occurring vegetables. So if you take bread with salad or bitter leaf or with any other suitable vegetable, including moringa and cinnamon, the glucose rise in the blood would not be as high as it would have been without the vegetable being ingested.

"However, talk to your doctor to be sure your fasting blood sugar is less than 100, your two hours after meal is less than 180, and your Hb1Ac which is your average blood sugar levels for the last three months is less than 6.5 percent."

Vanguard News Nigeria

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