We’re all at risk: Diabetes not ‘rich man’s disease’ – Cardiologist

We’re all at risk: Diabetes not ‘rich man’s disease’ – Cardiologist

● Dr. Francis Agyekum, Consultant Cardiologist

In the past, anytime the discussion or education about diabetes came up, many people in the low and mid­dle income categories treated it with contempt because it was believed to be a “rich man’s disease.”

Why would anyone want to pay attention to a subject that, in their opinion, does not concern them? They would rather ignore it.

However, a Consultant Cardiologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra Region, Dr. Francis Agyekum, has said that the days when diabetes was described as a “rich man’s disease” are a thing of the past because everyone can be affected.

He, therefore, advised that people attach seriousness to the subject, as ignorance could make one engage in activities that could lead to getting the disease.

Dr. Agyekum, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana Medical School, advised the public that any­thing a person consumed could affect the individual negatively or positively.

He said it was better to be well-in­formed so that one could consciously be involved in lifestyles and eating habits that would help them prevent the disease.

He explained that diabetes was a chronic disease which involved spend­ing money on accessing healthcare and care in various forms that could be a long-term.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by elevated lev­els of glucose, which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

Dr. Agyekum made the remarks at the Merck Foundation Health Me­dia Training in partnership with the First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation and President of the Merck Foundation’s ‘More Than a Mother’ campaign, and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

The programme was, among other things, aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness about prevention and early detection of diabetes, and hypertension.

“Symptoms include excessive thirst (polydipsia), excessive appetite (po­lyphagia), excessive urination (poly­uria), weight loss, vision changes, tingling feet and hands, and fatigue,” he said.

Dr. Agyekum, who is also the Vice President of the Ghana Society of Cardiology, said diabetes, a noncom­municable disease, occured from a combination of genetic, physiologi­cal, environmental, and behavioural factors, is a leading cause of death worldwide and an emerging global health threat.

While educating the media on Type 2 diabetes, he said it came with risk factors such as a family history of the disease, being 45 years of age or older, being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol, smoking, and being physically inactive.

He said to prevent it, there was a need to have a healthy body weight, and for the sake of accuracy and also to be assured of doing the right thing, the public should contact a health facility for the necessary assistance.

The Consultant Cardiologist high­lighted the need for persons to be physically active, avoid tobacco use, and have a healthy diet, which ideally should be recommended by a dietician so as not to compromise one’s health.

 By Dzifa Tetteh Tay

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