Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO

WHO confirms diabetes causes COVID-19 deaths, approves Corticosteroids for severe cases

*The global health body says the risk of complications or death from COVID-19 among people with diabetes increases with age, with people aged 60 years and above facing greater risks

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that 18.3 percent of COVID-19 deaths on the African continent are among people with diabetes.

The global health body, in an study, found the disease is one of the conditions that global studies have discovered to increase the risk of severe illness and death among people with the fatal virus.

In an analysis of 14 African countries, WHO provided information on COVID-19 and comorbidities which showed that the risk of complications or death from COVID-19 among people with diabetes increases with age, with people aged 60 years and above facing greater risks.

Corticosteroids Injectibles   Photo: Henryschein.Com

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.

But with early diagnosis and treatment, many of the harmful effects of the disease can be delayed or even avoided.

The disease occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type One diabetes) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (Type Two diabetes); the more common is Type Two diabetes.

While marking this year’s World Diabetes Day in Abuja, FCT Thursday, WHO in a statement stressed that in the past three decades, the occurrence of Type Two diabetes has risen dramatically in all countries around the world.

The African region has experienced a six-fold increase, from 4 million cases in 1980 to 25 million in 2014.

With around 60 per cent of people living with diabetes undiagnosed, the African region has the highest proportion of people unaware of their status.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “Far too many people are in the dark as to whether they have diabetes. People with this chronic condition suffer a double blow if they are also infected with COVID-19.

We must turn this around by investing in early detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes.

“We must not lose sight of other health challenges as we combat COVID-19. World Diabetes Day is a key moment to call attention to this chronic illness, which is increasingly threatening the lives of Africans.”

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