Diabetes, according to the World Health Organisation, is a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood sugar which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. For many people, it is a tough disease to manage. However, to Mr. Emmanuel Adeyinka, an octogenarian who has lived with diabetes for almost 50 years, managing the condition by consistently controlling blood sugar, is not only possible but easy. LARA ADEJORO reports:
Many people believe that persons living with diabetes may not live long due to the complications associated with the disease, such as kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. However, Mr. Emmanuel Adeyinka, who has lived with the disease for almost 50 years, believes that living long as a diabetic patient is possible.
According to him, all that is required is the right attitude to diet and compliance with drug therapy. The 87-year-old man has developed an unflagging determination in managing his condition following his diagnosis over 49 years ago.
“It will be 50 years by January 2022 since I’ve been living with diabetes,” he said.
Recalling the incident that led to his diagnosis, Adeyinka’s words highlight just how far the treatment of diabetes has advanced. The octogenarian was diagnosed with diabetes after he returned from a trip.
“I recollect that I went for a function and I drank a bottle of wine but upon my return to Ibadan, I realised I wasn’t feeling too well. I went to the hospital and I was diagnosed with diabetes,” he said.
Determined to live
Adeyinka didn’t let the condition deter him despite the low knowledge of the condition at that time but he braced himself up to live a healthy, long life, regardless.
“The condition is hereditary. My mother had it and she lived for 100 years. My maternal grandfather had it; my mother’s brother had it and he lived for over 100 years. So, I was determined to live long with the condition,” he said.
How I achieve blood sugar control
Adeyinka is currently the Vice Chairman of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria, in the South West region, and Chairman of the association in Oyo State.
Sharing his journey with PUNCH HealthWise, Adeyinka attributes his tight blood sugar control to compliance with his doctor’s prescriptions and eating healthily.
“After my diagnosis, I was placed on drugs immediately and I go for regular medical check-ups. I take my medications regularly,” the healthy-looking octogenarian said.
Resilience and consistency
Adeyinka said he knows what he has to deal with and has decided to get on with it without allowing it to get him down.
This resilience is apparently a major factor in his incredible longevity. As he puts it: “Diabetes does not kill; you can live as long as God permits if you are willing to do what is required of you without giving up.”
Making necessary lifestyle changes, in addition to sticking to the right diet, has improved Adeyinka’s life and he hopes this will motivate others to succeed as well.
“Some diabetic patients are usually told to eat just plantain and beans but it is not meant to be so. A diabetic patient can eat anything but it must be in moderation.
“A diabetic should avoid soft drinks, sugary fruits; not eating eba or popcorn. When eating swallow, it is good to eat with a variety of soups. But, it is important to avoid soft drinks and sugary fruits.
“A diabetic should eat fruits always but not fruits that are sweet; don’t eat fruits like pineapple, mango but eat fruits recommended by the doctor.
“You must obey your doctor’s recommendations for living with diabetes, eat healthily and exercise.
“My secrets are simple: I am grateful to God for creating and keeping me. The second secret is to be obedient by complying with the instructions of my physician and the third is to comply with medical prescriptions.
“For the past 17 years, I drive myself. I travel anywhere by myself.
“Diabetes is a life-long disease but it can be well managed with the right attitude. All you need to do is not to relent on what you’ve been advised to do; or else the progress you’ve made will be reversed,” he said.
The World Health Organisation said the most common type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs in adults when the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not make enough insulin.
“In the past three decades, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself.
“For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025,” WHO said.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]