Knowledge of Diabetes Management and Control among Diabetic Patients attending Federal Polytechnic Clinic, Kaura Namoda,North West Nigeria

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Authors : Abdullahi Mohammed Lawal, Abdullahi Mohammed Lawal


Diabetes is one of the chronic diseases that affect both the young and old in our society. According to World Health Organization (2006), at least 171 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes and it is more prevalent in developed countries. According to American Diabetes Association (2006), there were about 20.8 million people with diabetes in United States alone, while in developing countries, increase in prevalence is expected to occur especially in Africa, where most patients will likely be found by 2030. This increase in incidence of diabetes in developing countries follows the trend of urbanization and lifestyle changes perhaps most importantly a “Western – Style” diet (World Health Organization, 2006). In Nigeria though no estimate of the individuals suffering from diabetes has been made, in a recent screening exercise carried out in Warri and Sapele (south east, Nigeria) where 787 people attended, 65% were diabetic and hyper-tensive (Urhobo National Association of North America, 2004). Also at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu the number of patients that attend Wednesday diabetic clinic is alarming.

Diabetes is characterized by a disorder in metabolism of carbohydrate and subsequent derangement of fat and protein metabolism. Disturbance in production and action of insulin, a hormone secreted by the islets of langerhans in the pancreas is implicated in the disease (Shafer,2000). In addition to insulin, aging, over weight and several other hormones affect blood glucose level there-by preventing glucose from entering the cells (Clavell, 2005).This leads to hyperglycemia, which may result in acute and chronic complications such as diabetic keto-acidosis, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, kidney and eye diseases, disorders of the nerves and others (Iwueze, 2007).The management of diabetes poses a challenge to medical and nursing staff as well as to the patients themselves. Since diabetes is a chronic disease, most diabetic patients need to continue their treatment for the rest of their lives. The emphasis is usually therefore, on the control of the condition through a tight schedule of blood glucose and urine sugar monitoring, medication and adjustment to dietary modification (American Diabetes Association, 2003; Iwueze, 2007). Such a chronic condition requires competent self-care, which can be developed from a thorough under-standing of the disease process and the management challenges by the patient and family members. This pre-supposes a need for some form of diabetes education and counseling for the patient and family members. According to Colbert (2007) educating and supporting diabetic patients in managing their daily lives are important goals of diabetic patients care today. Unfortunately, about a third of the people suffering from diabetes may not be aware of it early considering the insidious onset and development (Iwueze, 2007). Regrettably too, many who are diagnosed with the condition demonstrate fears about the future and a general distaste because of the predominant misconceptions about the disease. This is heightened by the superstitious explanation of causation of diseases dominant in Africa where most diseases are caused by “poison” and/or “evil spirits”. Some of these problems highlighted can be taken care of if patients and indeed the general public are exposed to diabetes education (Iwueze, 2007).


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