From Birmingham, West Midlands, England:
I am trying to find out about the prevalence of diabetes in Africa compared to England. Is it considered beneficial to diagnose people with diabetes in the third world countries even though the majority will not have access to the medical treatments they require? They are also unlikely to have the opportunity to choose what they can and can't eat due to limited food supplies.
The incidence of diabetes in African countries is very low. This is in keeping with the observation that (in general) incidences fall as you near the equator - nobody knows why.
Your question about whether it's worth diagnosing is more philosophy than medicine but the answer depends upon where you are. Africa has many different cultures, political systems and health care provisions so care varies enormously. In any case, if there's any kind of health care in place then diabetes is cheap and easy to treat (at least well enough to keep the patient alive even if we're not talking about DCCT level control).
Your final point on food is quite wrong. Provided there's food available in Africa, it will almost invariably be of a healthier variety than in the UK i.e., fruit, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
Original posting 8 Nov 97
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