Africa, Nigeria Now At Risk Of 90% Spike in Diabetes Related Deaths

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

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A prominent scientist has warned that Nigeria and other African countries are set to witness a meteoric rise in deaths relating to diabetes in coming years if decisive efforts are not taken to tackle it.

Professor Rotimi Olusanya, gave the warning in Ilorin while delivering his inaugural lecture titled, Modulating the mediators of life processes: the strategic place of enzymes in health and wellness, at the University of Ilorin.

The Professor of Biochemistry said, “Diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030, According to the report, the number of people living with diabetes worldwide will increase from 537 to 552 million by 2030 unless action is taken. It has been predicted that the number of cases may jump by 90 percent in Africa.”

While noting that ageing and lifestyle changes are contributing factor, he added that the causes of increase in the number of cases are rapid urbanization and westernization.

The lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences at the UNILORIN said, “The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is increasing with ageing and lifestyle changes associated with rapid urbanization and westernization.”

While speaking on the treatment of the disease, Arise said that the conventional treatment oral hypoglycaemic agents/insulin therapy have been shown to have prominent side effects and they do not modify the course of diabetic complications.

He however revealed that the need to develop new antidiabetic drugs has led him to the screening of some indigenous plants for their ability to modulate the activities of carbohydrate-digesting enzymes and other mediators.

The scientist later suggested the use of indigenous plants like, Acacia ataxacantha known as flame thorn in English and ihun in Yoruba, Corchorus olitorius known as jute leaves in English and ewedu in Yoruba and Moringa oleifera known as drum stick tree to tackle the disease.

“We concluded that the plant extract exhibited blood glucose lowering potential and improved lipid metabolism, thus it may be beneficial in preventing diabetic complications arising from oxidative stress.”

 

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