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Debunking Diabetes Myths. Part 1 by Damilola Opawale

Myth 1: Diabetes is caused when a person consumes too much sugary food and soft drinks


The cause of Diabetes goes beyond the consumption of sugary meals. 

Diabetes is caused by a combination of hereditary (inherited) and lifestyle factors.

Let me break it down

Diabetes, presently incurable, is a disease condition that occurs when the body cannot use glucose (smallest form of sugar) well. A large portion of the food we eat is converted to glucose which is the main source of energy needed to fuel the body’s functions.

Glucose leaves our intestine and enters in the blood. From the blood, it is moved to the body cells where it is needed to produce energy or stored up for later use.

The substance (hormone) in the body that helps to move glucose from the blood to the cells is called INSULIN.

Insulin works like a key that opens the doors on the cells to allow glucose in. Without Insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells, so it stays in the blood.

Insulin is produced by an organ in the body called PANCREAS.

In some individuals, this insulin (the Key) is not produced at all or produced in insufficient amount due to some abnormalities in the genes of the persons. Hence the doors on the cells cannot be opened for glucose to enter. This is called Type 1 Diabetes which commonly affects Children and Teenagers.

In some other individuals, Insulin (the Key) is present, but the Key holes (called Receptors) on the cells are faulty, so they don’t respond when Insulin tries to open them to allow glucose in. 

This is called Type 2 Diabetes which commonly affects adults.

As a result of inability of glucose to enter the cells in these individuals, glucose level in the blood becomes higher than normal and can continue to rise if nothing is done. 

High levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and low levels of glucose (sugar) in the cells are the causes of all the problems that Diabetes cause.

From what we have discussed above, it is obvious that eating a lot of sugar is not the main cause of Diabetes. 

However, Diabetics (people who have diabetes) have to be careful with what they eat since there is a problem with the process involved in the use of glucose.

Being overweight has been found to increase the risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes and a diet high in sugar can contribute to weight gain. For this reason, it is generally advisable for everyone to carefully regulate their consumption of high calorie food (food that ultimately lead to high sugar in the body). 

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Feel free to send your diabetes related articles to

Dr Oluwadamilola Opawale is a medical practitioner with interest in Public health and preventive medicine. She has had a stint of experience from the famous St. Nicholas hospital as a clinician.

She is also the President of IBuildAfrica Foundation, an NGO that reaches out to female adolescents, helping them maximize their potentials environment and background notwithstanding.

She has a passion to teach people how to stay healthy by imbibing healthy lifestyle and choices. 

Diabetes Hand Foundation application for MasterLab Leadership Institute.

The diabetes hand foundation new MasterLab Leadership Institute will be an intensive, exciting, weekend conference featuring expert mentorship, leadership development, and social entrepreneurship workshops to support leaders implementing positive changes for the greater diabetes community.

MasterLab Leadership Institute is Seeking:
  • Passionate, driven leaders in the early stages of a project to improve life with diabetes.
  • Non-profits, small businesses, social enterprises, grassroots projects, or anything in between.
  • Applicants and projects that represent the diversity of the diabetes community: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, POC, LGBTQIA+, & international friends encouraged to apply.
Benefits of Attending:
  • 20 accepted Fellows accepted into the 2017 cohort will be given a fully-funded scholarship, and flown to the San Francisco Bay Area for an intensive weekend (March 31-April 2).
  • Fellows will attend hands-on workshops with expert mentorship from innovation experts, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders.
  • Fellows will learn how to refine their organizational model, use the lean startup method, sharpen their leadership toolkit, find sustainable funding, and increase their social impact.

Through our work in the diabetes space, we’ve seen the need for more diverse community leadership, and sufficient support for those passionate leaders. Often, people touched by diabetes are under-represented in decision-making spaces and leadership roles. In addition, the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), previous MasterLab events, and community leadership have had an underrepresentation of people touched by Type 2 diabetes and people of color. This is in contrast to the fact that “…American Indians and Alaska Natives, black or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders, have a higher prevalence and greater burden of diabetes compared to whites…” (ClinicalDiabetes Journal, 2012).

Through this program, our goal is to robustly support a diverse group of diabetes advocates and leaders that represent the full spectrum of the diabetes community – Type 1, Type 2, etc. We are looking for emerging leaders who are passionate about creating change, want support to advance their projects, and are driven to create meaningful impact.

Instructions for Applying:

Please see below for additional details; we hope you apply! Applications due February 15. Questions about the program not answered below can be emailed to Mandy Jones, Director of Advocacy, at

For more information visit their website 


This was the start of a beautiful friendship and the creation of our diabetes project. Back in 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting Adejumo Hakeem from Nigeria.

We’d been in constant communication prior to the International Diabetes Federation Conference in Melbourne as I’d managed to win their essay competition, ‘Diabetes in Nigeria: Protecting the Future’.

I even went on to write my masters on ‘The Relationship Between Urbanisation and Type 2 Diabetes: a human rights-based approach to health in Nigeria’. So here we were, online friends from New Zealand and Nigeria, finally able to cross the ocean and meet in person.


It’s been 6 months since the book was launched and the sales are still doing great. The profits from my book go directly to Adejumo at NGdoc to aid children with type 1 diabetes in Nigeria who do not have access to the supplies they need to survive. There are already stories of young children who we, and our consumers, have supported. If you have bought a book – YOU helped a child!

Our very first child was enough to spur us on, the fact that we’d made a difference in someone’s life is very humbling. Oluwatimileyin Daniel was 14 years old and in a state of diabetes ketoacidosis in hospital as his family had no money to buy insulin. Through our partnership we were able to pay for both the insulin and glucometer test strips he needed. He was lucky, many are not.

If you want to help us make a difference you can buy the book, or the cheaper e-book version on Amazon. If your child has type 1 diabetes they will hopefully love the book and be saving another child at the same time

Culled from type1writerblog 

Carrie Hetherington can be contacted here

The 3rd Africa Diabetes Congress (YAOUNDE 2017)






1.       Education and patients

2.       Clinical

3.       Basic sciences and physiology

4.       Epidemiology public health

5.       Endocrinology (including paediatrics and reproductive)


Wednesday 19th April 2017: 3 from 14:00 – 15:30

Thursday 20th April 2017: 3 from 12.30 – 14:00 and 2 from 18:00 – 20:00

Friday 21st April 2017: 2 from 12.30 – 14:00



Opening Ceremony: Wednesday 19th April 2017 from 17:30 – 18:30

Welcome reception: Wednesday 19th April 2017 from 18:30 – 19:30

Congress dinner: Friday 21st April 2017 from 19:00 – 22:00



First Announcement: 30th April 2016

Second Announcement and Call for Abstracts: 1stJune 2016

Abstract Dateline: 30th October 2016

Breaking Abstract Dateline: 15th January 2017

Early Registration Dateline: 1st February 2017




Accepted abstracts for oral presentation, poster discussion and poster display will be published in a Supplement of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice

Congress Secretariat.

Yaounde – Cameroon.

Is Glucotrack the future for non invasive glucose monitoring.

In examples of amazing medical innovations to behold is Glucotrack.

GlucoTrack uses ultrasonic, electromagnetic and thermal technologies to non-invasively measure glucose levels in the blood.

The device is battery-operated and includes a Main Unit (UMU), which contains display and control features, as well as transmitter, receiver and processor, and a Personal Ear Clip (PEC), which contains sensors and calibration electronics, and is clipped to the earlobe.

The device is small, light and easy to handle.

The equipment which is still in registration process will relieve the pressure of needle pricks and jabs.

More about the equipment from integrity application can be found here

Diabetes Cure: Prospect or Sham


On the 29th of January,2016 The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community coordinated its monthly tweetchat centered around creating a platform for People living with diabetes in Nigeria to interact with an overall aim of creating a social peer support.

The monthly #diabetes tweetchat – first of its kind in Africa has participants from all over Nigeria and Africa.

Below are some highlights of the chats.










Do join us on the 26th of February, 2016 (every last Friday of the month) to participate.

If you have topics you want raised do email us on thengdoc(at)gmail(dot)com.

Can Probiotics Reverse Diabetes?


Sometimes ago we got an email from someone explaining the health benefits of probiotics in diabetes reversal.

He claimed probiotics when combined with other essential components can cause a reversal of diabetes.

In as much as we know that a cure or reversal of diabetes isn’t established yet, we still decided to dig further into verifying his claims.

So we started by finding out what probiotics are:

Probiotics are live bacteria that naturally occur in certain foods—from fermented vegetables, to live-cultured yogurt.

Researchers have studied probiotics to find out whether they might help prevent or treat a variety of health problems, including:

Digestive disorders such as diarrhea caused by infections.
Allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Tooth decay and other oral health problems.
The common cold

According to  “Probiotics and Diabetes Mellitus” a research article published from K. Naydenov at Trakia University, Bulgaria:

The pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus is complex and one of the factors implemented is the oxidative stress. Probiotic-containing foods have been reported to suppress oxidative stress. L. acidophillus and L. casei also attenuate oxidative stress and are believed to have antidiabetic effects.

Also an article excerpt from completely analysed the claims of a breakthrough discovery in probiotics ‘curing’ Type 1and Type 2 diabetes mellitus by a research from Cornell University in the US.

Although the research highlighted will not provide an immediate cure for people living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, but it’s very interesting nevertheless.

The study was focused on rats, and at that stage it is too early to say if the probiotic used would have the same benefits in humans, or if it could become a routine treatment for diabetes in humans.

Years of further research using animal models and clinical trials in humans will be needed before we will know if this treatment could benefit people living with diabetes.

Without further research, we do not know if this approach could potentially replace or work in combination with existing therapies for people living with diabetes.

It is important to note that, in people with Type 1 diabetes, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are targeted and destroyed by an immune attack. If this approach were used to engineer new insulin-producing gut cells in people with Type 1, these cells could also be targeted by the immune system – so this would need to be monitored closely.

According to this article on Diabetes UK page until further research has been completed, the best way to manage diabetes is by taking existing medications prescribed by your doctor, and maintaining a healthy weight by following a healthy balanced diet and taking regular exercise.

Although claims of cure has been a major influencer of late presentations at hospitals and increased complication in Nigeria, we believe that Africa has been endowed with natural remedies that if researched into may provide outstanding breakthroughs.

We hope government, corporate organizations and individuals will invest in such researches.

Please feel free to drop your comments or suggestions in the comment section below.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Happy 2016


Season’s Greetings,

It is with great joy I congratulate us all on a successful out gone year and anticipate a greater and fulfilling 2016 ahead.

Looking at the achievements we had in the past years, we can’t but extend our profound gratitude to our partners,directors and our over 30 amiable volunteers whose activities pro-buono keeps us going.

Thank you all for investing your excellent spirits in ensuring a better life for people living with diabetes.

In a chaotic world marred by  religious extremism, wars, gender inequalities, natural and man-made disasters, communicable diseases, we at NGdoc remain resolute at making the world a better place for people living with diabetes one step at a time.

Through the wonderful support of our partners and commitment of our volunteers we have become one of the foremost youth led diabetes organizations locally and globally.

As we start the new year I wish us all a more fulfilling and rewarding year ahead in all our endeavors.

Your continual support, partnership and encouragement is highly solicited as we unveil our activities for the new year.

2016 is a year of more social peer support engagements with more national influence on policies and diabetes care.

My Co-Founder and I have personally committed as part of our new year resolution to raise funds to support diabetes awareness and care for NGdoc and T1International – a non governmental organization whose charity activities have influenced advocacy and T1 care in resource poor settings.

This fund will be committed to advocacy, access to essential medicine, diabetes awareness and care in resource poor settings, and importantly locally inspired diabetes research works.

So when we come to your door for your support ; please let us join hands in saving the world together.

Thank you

Adejumo Olamide Hakeem,
The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community.

NGDOC partners with OOUTH and Penpals United to initiate support group for Nigerian CWDs


The Nigeria Diabetes Online Community in collaboration with The Pediatric Endocrinology department of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital partnered with Penpals United – an organization that offers online support groups and pen-pal opportunities to people with type one diabetes around the globe towards the first online social peer support group for children living with diabetes in Nigeria.


The partnership ushers in the first online social support group for children living with diabetes in Nigeria with the aim of creating a platform for the empowerment of the children and support for their diabetes management and care through help with insulin access, mentoring and penpal.


The pioneer meeting that centered on introduction, understanding living with diabetes  in Nigeria and Q & A section, had in attendance Jack Terschluse –  founder of Penpal United, Dr Mrs. Fetuga (Head of department of the pediatric department at the University and Consultant Pediatric Endocrinology), Doctors Adekoya, Obadina and Adebola from the teaching hospital in attendance.


If you know any child living with diabetes and wish to join our subsequent periodic meetings , please feel free to reach on thengdoc(at)gmail(dot)com.


If you’re interested in partnering with us to ensure steady supplies of insulin, consumables and glucometers are available to our CWDs please do reach us.

A huge thanks to the medical team of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Penpals United, T1International, Access Alliance, Marjorie Funds, Cajsa Lindberg and Cherise Shockley for the support towards making this a reality.

2015 Annual World Diabetes Day Essay Competition (Winner)



As I grab my pen
Pictures, graphs and texts run through my mind
The pain of three hundred and forty-seven million children, women and men
Is extremely difficult to comprehend
Type one, type two and gestational
Others are unclassified
The wrath of diabetes mellitus is intentional
A chronic illness characterized
When the body screams for insulin
And the pancreas cannot produce
At all or enough insulin
So much pain is induced
Oh! What a malady
This disaster has come to ruin!
Playing the lives of humans like a symphony
Oh! Diabetes is so brute
Men and women un-exempted
Young and old
All included
Cruel, sharp and bold
It fights the brain, the heart
The eyes, kidneys and nerves are not spared
Sleeping and waking with fearful tears
Come to my rescue!
I can hear the voices
Of those with this issue
Let us wake from our trances
To help change the present
Eat regular meals based on starchy foods
Go for the ones with high fiber content
Let olive oil be the oil to cook
Let your choice be low fat yoghurt
May you opt for skimmed milk too
Fruits and vegetables, five daily portions
Cut down on your sugar, salt and alcohol
Check your fasting blood sugar as often as possible
Non-adherence to these should be annulled
Oral drugs, injectable and inhaled insulin is available
Let us take our clubs and daggers
To kill this beast called diabetes
Not another life will it endanger
We shall prevent, treat and manage it
Thirty minutes of moderate exercises daily
Healthy diet and adequate sleep
All of these will reduce the incidence drastically
And right now
At this juncture
You and I will get involved
In changing the present for a brighter future

Ajibade-Azeez Adenike
2015 Winning Essay