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20.09.2005 Health

Diabetes - The Silent Killer

By GNA

A GNA feature by Miss Fauziyah Sai (AIJC Intern)

Accra, Sept. 19, GNA - Hardly noticed, but a silent killer, diabetes is transforming Ghana into a huge abattoir where people are being served with death notices or advance warning to forfeit a limp or kick the bucket.

Painfully the day of reckoning dawned on Atta Kwei, a successful businessman and a breadwinner of a large family of two wives and 15 children, when a Physician diagnosed him and declared him diabetic and advised the amputation of his badly infected left leg or makes a premature journey to his ancestral world.

According to health experts, diabetes is the biggest health challenge of the 21st century.

Each year 82,000 people lose their legs or foot. There are two types of diabetes that is type one and type two. The records of the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that diabetes accounts for five per cent of the disease burden of the world annually.

About 50 per cent of these are adults. According to scientists diabetes cases in adults will more than double up globally from the current 143 million in the 21st century. Scientists record that one tribe in Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world.

In the United States of America 18.2 million people are affected by this pandemic and rated as the fifth-deadliest national disease. Nearly nine per cent of American women have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes leads to stroke, heart diseases, amputation and blindness. Women are especially vulnerable to the risk of diabetes-related cardiovascular diseases: Over the past 30 years, the death rate from heart diseases for women with diabetes has soared 23 per cent. In a research, scientists declared that type-one diabetes was one of the most frequent chronic diseases in children and a major public health problem because of its long-term complications. In Ghana an estimation of 6.3 per cent age between 20 years and 70 years are suffering from diabetes.

An additional 12 per cent within the same age group, in the "pre-diabetes stage" is also fast developing full-fledged diabetes. President of the Ghana Diabetes Association, Dr Kwamena Beecham disclosed this at the launch of the 2005 Diabetes Awareness Month in the Ashanti Region, recently.

He blamed the rising cases of the disease in country to the changing tastes of many Ghanaians and advised the public to be careful of what they ate and do exercises regularly if they wanted to stay free of the disease and the high cost of treating and managing the disease. Again, Dr Beecham called on the Government, Civil Society and the media to co-operate in the awareness creation exercise.

Considering the benefits of regular physical activity and proper eating habits it would be prudent for every Ghanaian to patronise these cost free means of avoiding the menacing disease to rid the country of the needless deaths.

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