Infected airways, infected female anopheles and infected bodily fluids; these infected sources, among many others, have been proven scientifically to be the causative agents in 3 of the most lethal, yet prevalent, health conditions in Ghana: Lower Respiratory Infections, Malaria and HIV (Borgen).
All 3 ubiquitous diseases have unfortunately vindicated their pedigree of danger in our motherland, Ghana. Even as dire as the statistics are, we have stopped paying much heed to the means by which we can reduce or eliminate it all together. However, I ask all readers to revert back to the parallelized thesis statement, laying particular emphasis on the repeated description: “Infected”. These conditions, albeit hereditary among a minority, are typically externally contracted from sometimes unavoidable sources. Recognizing this, I seek to shift the spotlight for the nonce, and to draw your attention to yet another fatal health condition in Ghana, which, contrarily, has an evitable path of prevention: Diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition where one’s blood glucose concentration becomes higher than normal levels that can be processed properly by the body (CDC). These high levels can be attributed to the frequent consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars which present themselves in the forms of a few local delicacies – such as Banku, Kenkey, Omo tuo and Asana – and not only what the lay Ghanaian thinks is the root : sodas and chocolate.
Also, take a look at our infamous or rather famous Ghanaian Jollof, the heavy loaf of butter bread as well as the sugar-infused dairy products that we consume on a daily basis, without a moment’s hesitation. Moreover, according to research from the National Centre of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the Glycemic Indexes of heavy cuisines such as Banku (73), TZ (68) and Fufu (55) are extremely high, which means that they quickly increase one’s body sugar levels and can be damaging to vital organs in the body (Eli-Cophie et al.). Recently, due to the difficulties presented in our economic strength and physical movement by COVID-19, most of us found ourselves drawn to these foods and repelled from regular exercise.
Blurred visions, fatigue, frequent urination and loss of weight are symptoms one ought to consciously monitor on a daily basis, as they are affiliated with Diabetes (Mayo Clinic). However, these signs can be a little murky, as they present as symptoms for other ailments as well, or may otherwise be discarded as temporary vitals due to recent strenuous activities or consumptions. As such, according to research from Mayo Clinic and Healthline, it is extremely important to:
- Control your portions in your eating plan – It is recommended to be conscious of the quantity of carbohydrates one consumes, as improper procession of this nutrient may lead to diabetes. Nutritionists often advise that your plate should have more color : the more rainbow-like your plate is, the healthier your portions, as this denotes a rich assortment of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise – This would increase your metabolic rate, thereby catabolizing glucose at a faster rate to release energy.
- Lose weight – Being overweight is a predisposing condition, as such it is advised to level the grounds by losing weight.
- Consume Fiber: Fiber is known to improve blood sugar control and promote weight loss by making one feel “full” after consumption. High fiber foods include; fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.
- “Drink Water as your primary beverage” (Spritzler) – This prevents frequent ingestion of sugary beverages, which have statistically proven to have a causal link to an increased risk in type 2 diabetes.
- Screening – Particularly for Ghanaians of ages 45 and above, one is encouraged to see a doctor and schedule regular screenings for early detection.
This path of prevention is one that we must pay heed to, and interweave into our daily routines, in order to successfully abate the scope of our motherland’s diabetic demography.
Author: Nana Ama Nhyira Ocran
- Borgen, Clint. “The Most Common Diseases in Ghana and Their Prevention.” The Borgen Project, 31 July 2018, borgenproject.org/common-diseases-in-ghana/.
- “What Is Diabetes?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html#:~:text=Diabetes%20is%20a%20chronic%2 0(long.
- Eli-Cophie, Divine, et al. “Glycemic Index of Some Local Staples in Ghana.” Food Science & Nutrition, vol. 5, no. 1, 18 Apr. 2016, pp. 131–138, wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/fsn3.372, 10.1002/fsn3.372. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.
- Mayo Clinic. “Diabetes – Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic, 30 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Diabetes Prevention: 5 Tips for Taking Control.” Mayo Clinic, 25 June 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-prevention/art -20047639.
- Spritzler, Franziska. “13 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.” Healthline, 29 Jan. 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/prevent-diabetes#3.-Drink-Water-as-Your-Primary-Bevera ge.
Nana Ama Nhyira Ocran