Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 51-55

Diabetes in elderly Nigerians: A survey of a rural area in north-central Nigeria

1 Internal Medicine Department, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
2 Public Health Department, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
3 Surgery Department, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Evelyn K Chuhwak
P.O. Box 1641, General Post Office, Jos 930001, Plateau State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jomt.jomt_26_18

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Background: The burden of diabetes mellitus in Nigeria has been estimated to be on the increase over the past few decades. Its prevalence has also been noted to vary across rural, semi-urban, and urban areas in the country and also across age groups. This study was conducted as part of a non-communicable disease survey in north-central Nigeria carried out in 2008. Aim: To determine the prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus among elderly individuals in Gindiri—a rural area in Mangu local government area of Plateau State, north-central Nigeria. Methodology: Consecutive subjects were recruited from the study population. A total of 197 subjects were found to be 60 years of age or older and these were screened for the presence of diabetes mellitus. Those found to have diabetes mellitus were referred to the Jos University Teaching Hospital Primary healthcare Centre in Gindiri for follow-up. Results: There were 124 female and 73 male elderly subjects, respectively. Both genders had similar age (P > 0.10), BMI (P > 0.10), and waist/hip ratio. The mean random blood glucose was also similar. Out of the eight subjects who were found to have diabetes, two were old patients already on treatment whereas six were new cases diagnosed on account of a random blood glucose of over 11.1 mmol/L. The prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus among elderly rural dwellers in Gindiri is 4.06%. Conclusion: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus among the elderly in rural Africa is higher than in the general population. The vast majority are asymptomatic and have fewer associated comorbidities which thus leads to delayed hospital presentation. The rate is however much lower than the corresponding prevalence rates among the elderly in more highly urbanized areas of the world. This may be due to differences in diet and lifestyle. It is noted however that the prevalence of diabetes mellitus is increasing in the rural area.

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