Navigating Diabetes Care is West Africa's leading primary care conference dedicated to the subject of type-2 diabetes and related cardiovascular disease. It highlights the clinical, socioeconomic and global health implications of this debilitating and increasingly sub-Saharan healthcare phenomenon, and discusses the overwhelming burden of diabetes-related chronic disease on the region's fragile and evolving healthcare delivery systems.
Diabetes in the adult population is essentially a cardiovascular disease. This viewpoint is especially true of the type-2 variety of this condition. The constellation of clinical features commonly mediated by insulin resistance, obesity, hyperlipidaemia and an identified pattern of lifestyle choices, greatly increases the likelihood of "concordant" co-morbidities such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), ischaemic heart disease, hypertension and stroke.
Often under-estimated however, is the related long-term risk of developing some of the more "discordant" co-morbid illnesses such as cancer, mental illness and respiratory disease. Type 2 diabetes doubles the risk of pancreatic, liver and endometrial cancer, and significantly increases the risk of cancers developing in the breast, bladder and colorectal regions. Co-morbidities such as obstructive sleep apnoea, depression and arthritis can have profound effects on patients' ability to manage their own ill health. Conversely, the treatment of certain co-morbid conditions may considerably worsen control of diabetes in already frail and unwell type 2 diabetic patients.
The theme of the 2017 conference is 'Managing Co-morbidity in Type-2 Diabetes Control'. It recognises the importance of individualised care in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and related chronic disease. The programme examines evidence-based approaches relevant to the management of type-2 diabetes and explores the causal link and relationships between type 2 diabetes and associated causes of chronic ill health. It considers risk factors common to the aetiology of these conditions and focuses attention on the risk and treatment implications of co-existing diagnoses in this ailing and often-vulnerable group of patients.