Evidence continues to accumulate on the rising burden of diabetes mellitus at a higher pace in Africa. In a series of two papers, we sought to summarise recent evidence on diabetes and obesity in Africa based on a systematic review of studies published between January 2002 and October 2012. This first paper on the prevalence, pathogenesis and comorbidities shows that the increase in diabetes prevalence has paralleled that of obesity in Africa. Recent surveys on diabetes and obesity have been largely suboptimal. Hence, the need for more representative and robust continent-wide prevalence figures, which may be somehow achieved through pooling of existing data. Prospective studies linking environmental risk factors to disease occurrence and outcomes remain scarce, and genetic factors for diabetes or obesity have not been extensively assessed. The health consequences of diabetes are manifold, and include a complex interaction with other conditions like HIV infection and sickle cell disease/trait.
- Metabolic medicine
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