As young people, we are often get away with a lot of health concerns. Based on our lifestyles, we get to live a life that is energetic and full of life
However, based on certain life choices or predisposed conditions we end up generating certain types of diseases that end up affecting our quality.
Sometimes, because certain types of diseases are known to affect old people, we rarely pay attention to them. One of such is diabetes.
Mostly known to affect old people, today, a number of active young people are also being diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes in young adults is becoming a concern for a lot of health experts who are finding ways to engage young people about the issue.
Diabetes is projected to be the seventh leading cause of death by the year 2030, with the numbers expected to increase to over 600 million by the year 2030.
More than two-thirds of the rise in the prevalence of diabetes is expected in low- and middle-income countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa.
Trends in the prevalence of diabetes in Ghana do not differ significantly from those observed in other sub-Saharan African countries, with earlier studies showing a meagre prevalence rate of less than 0.02% of the adult population and recent figures ranging from 6.2% to 13.9%. These figures may not be alarming, as a sizeable proportion of individuals are left undiagnosed in the adult population.
Risk factors driving the prevalence of diabetes differ, however, it is important for young people, aged below 40 years, to understand how they can avert or prepare themselves for a long fruitful life living with diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it makes.
Think of insulin as the campus shuttle and the blood sugar as students. With diabetes, either you don’t have enough shuttles to transport students to lectures or the shuttle system is not effective to take students to lectures. Either way, the students don’t go to lectures and they end up loitering on campus.
Though certain genetic conditions contribute to a person being diagnosed with diabetes, sometimes, especially in the case of Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle choices can also play a role.
Young adults most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes are those who are overweight or obese and may have blood relatives with type 2 diabetes or may have signs of insulin resistance as diagnosed by a health professional.
For most young people insulin resistance is thought to be key in being diagnosed with diabetes. Insulin resistance means that the insulin does not work properly.
Young people with insulin resistance need to make more insulin than is ‘normally’ required to regulate their blood glucose levels.
Healthy eating, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can improve insulin resistance. This can stop the blood glucose levels from rising and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
With the increasing urbanised lifestyle young adults are getting accustomed to, we have to be deliberate in our actions to ensure a young life free of more hospital visits than usual.
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