Annals of African Medicine

: 2021  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 78--83

Clinical profile of patients with diabetes mellitus in gusau, Northwestern, Nigeria

Kabiru Bello Sada1, AA Sabir2, AM Sakajiki2, MT Umar2, U Abdullahi1, YA Sikiru1,  
1 Department of Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kabiru Bello Sada
Department of Medicine, Federal Medical Centre, Gusau


Background: There are variable reports of glycemic control and complications among patients living with diabetes mellitus (DM). Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the glycemic control and complications among patients with DM seen at the medical outpatient department of a tertiary health institution in Northwestern Nigeria. Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 236 patients attending DM Clinic at Federal Medical Centre Gusau. A questionnaire was administered that contains sociodemographic characteristics of the patients, duration of DM, adherence to management, and complications. Anthropometry, blood pressures, and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) were recorded. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. Results: Eighty-six (36%) males and 150 (64%) females patients with DM were evaluated. Their mean (standard deviation [SD]) age was 53.5 ± 12.3 years with mean (SD) duration of DM of 7.9 ± 6.2 years. The mean FPG was 8.85 ± 3.8 mmol/L (males 8.21 ± 3.6, females 9.49 ± 3.8). Forty-seven (20%), 75 (32%), 113 (48%) of the patients had good, fair, and poor glycemic control, respectively. The major complications observed were peripheral neuropathy (61%) and visual impairment (51%). Glycemic control was significantly better among males and those with good adherence to medications. There was a positive association between the longer duration of DM with complications. Conclusion: Only 20% of our patients achieved good glycemic control and many have complications. Majority of the patients adhered more with medications as compared to dietary management and exercise. There is a need for clinicians to educate patients more on the need for lifestyle modifications.

How to cite this article:
Sada KB, Sabir A A, Sakajiki A M, Umar M T, Abdullahi U, Sikiru Y A. Clinical profile of patients with diabetes mellitus in gusau, Northwestern, Nigeria.Ann Afr Med 2021;20:78-83

How to cite this URL:
Sada KB, Sabir A A, Sakajiki A M, Umar M T, Abdullahi U, Sikiru Y A. Clinical profile of patients with diabetes mellitus in gusau, Northwestern, Nigeria. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Aug 2 ];20:78-83
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Full Text


The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) is rising in Nigeria.[1] DM and hypertension clinics are becoming the busiest in many of our tertiary health centers.[2] A number of factors have contributed to the rising prevalence of DM in Nigeria with a current prevalence estimate of 5.77%. Some of these factors include a rising burden of overweight/obesity, sedentary living, unhealthy diet, stress, advancing age, and urbanization.[2]

It is established that the management of DM is a lifelong endeavor that requires a combination of dietary measures, regular exercise, and the use of medications.[3] A weight reduction of 5%–10% of original body weight through caloric restriction, exercise, or bariatric surgery improve glycaemic control and can even make type 2 diabetes go into remission.[4],[5]

Poor adherence to medications among patients with DM has been reported to range from 38 to 93% and is a major cause of poor glycemic control which leads to complications.[6] The causes of nonadherence varies from financial constrain, pill burden and fear of hypoglycemia.[7]

Glycaeted hemoglobin is the gold standard for assessing glycemic control and has good correlation with fasting and postprandial plasma glucose.[8] Many studies have reported poor glycemic control among patients with DM Worldwide and most especially in resource-poor countries.[9],[10] Optimising glycemic control is known to significantly reduce the incidence of complications.[11] To the best of our knowledge, there are few published works on the quality of glycemic control and clinical profile of persons with DM in North-West Nigeria, and none from Gusau, Zamfara state. The number of persons living with DM in this part of the country continues to increase with a concomitant increase in chronic complications.[12] It is our belief that this study will bridge these gaps in knowledge of DM in the region and form a baseline for future work.

The aim of this study was to determine the status of glycemic control and complications of patients with DM attending DM clinic at a tertiary hospital in Northwestern, Nigeria.


This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of patients attending the DM Clinic at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Gusau, Northwest Nigeria. Its a public hospital that holds DM clinic every Thursday except on government-declared public holidays. The study was conducted over 3 weeks.

The clinic attends to an average of 120 patients with DM weekly. Eight doctors administered a structured questionnaire to 10 patients each per clinic day throughout the study period. Patients that consented to participate in the study were recruited consecutively over a period of 3 weeks and their folders labeled to avoid repetition until a total sample size of 236 was obtained. Pregnant women and those who declined consent were excluded from the study.

Data were captured through the application of an interviewer administered-questionnaire which contained sociodemographic characteristics of patients, duration of DM, complications, adherence to dietary advice, exercise, medications, and clinic follow-up visits.

Body mass index (BMI) was determine by calculating weight and height ratio square using stadiometer, Blood pressures were measured with accoson sphygmomanometer, and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was measured using the standard method.

Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, version 20 (IBM SPSS Inc. Chicago Illinois, USA). software version 20.0. Categorical variables were expressed in percentages, while continuous variables were expressed as mean (standard deviation [SD]). Chi-square was used to determine the association of categorical variables and independent Student's t-test for continuous variables. A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Operational terms

Status of glycemic control:[13] Good control: FPG 4–6 mmol/L, Fair control: FPG 6.1–8 mmol/L, Poor control: FPG >8 mmol/L. Fair and poor control were categorized as uncontrolled glycemic statusClassification of BMI.[14]

Obesity: BMI ≥30 kg/m2

Overweight: BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2

Normal weight: BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2

Underweight: BMI ≤18.5 kg/m.2

1. Adherence: Adherence was determined using Likert[15] rating scale principle.

Adherence to exercise.

Adequate (Good):[16] Aerobic exercise for at least 150 min/weekPoor: Exercise less than 150 min/week.

Adherence to medications:

Good: Takes medications every day at the prescribed dosagePoor: Not consistent with taking medications.

Adherence to dietary management:

Good: Adhere strictly to dietary advice given by nutritionistPoor: Doesn't adhere.

Adherence to follow-up:

Good: Visit hospital on schedule appointment regularlyPoor: Only visit hospital when feeling unwell.

Ethical consideration

Ethical approval was obtained from the research and ethical committee of FMC, Gusau. A signed informed consent was obtained from each of the participants and confidentiality was assured based on the Helsinki declaration of bioethics.


Two hundred and thirty-six patients with DM comprising 86 (36%) males and 150 (64%) females were studied. The mean (SD) age was 53.5 ± 12.3 years with males 57.01 (±11.9) being significantly older than the females 51.5 (±12.5), P = 0.001.

The mean (SD) duration of DM was 7.9 ± 6.2 years (males 8.2 ± 6.4, females 7.6 ± 6.1) P = 0.47, with the duration of living with DM ranging from 1 to 40 years. One hundred and one (42.8%) subjects had DM <5 years while 135 (57.2%) had it for more than 5 years.

[Table 1] shows the distribution of subjects based on BMI and gender. One hundred and eight (72%) females were either obese or overweight compared to 37 (43%) males. P = 0.001.{Table 1}

The mean (SD) FPG was 8.85 ± 3.8 mmol/L (males 8.21 ± 3.6, females 9.49 ± 3.8) P = 0.01. The distribution of glycemic control is shown in [Figure 1]. Only 20% of the patients had good glycemic control.{Figure 1}

The DM-related complications observed are shown in [Figure 2]. The most common complications observed were peripheral neuropathy (61%), visual impairment (51%), and erectile dysfunction (41%).{Figure 2}

One hundred and sixty-nine (72%) subjects had good adherence to medications, 147 (62%) to follow-up, 127 (54%) to dietary management, but only 66 (28%) had good adherence to exercise.

There was significant association between good glycemic control with male gender (P = 0.001) and good adherence to medications (P = 0.005) [Table 2].{Table 2}

Males had better adherence to dietary management (63% vs. 49%) and medications (81% vs. 66%) compared to their female counterparts [Table 3].{Table 3}

Patients living with DM for more than 5 years had more visual impairment (P = 0.002) and erectile dysfunction (0.001) [Table 4].{Table 4}


More females participated in the study than their males counterparts because they attend clinic follow-up more than males. This is in keeping with some studies that show higher attendance of females in clinics.[17] This may be explained by the busy schedules of the males who are usually the breadwinners in our communities however in this study males adhered more with follow-up visit compared to females though insignificant.

The finding that about 62% of the subjects were either obese or overweight and females having higher BMI is in keeping with the finding by Fadupin et al.[18] in Ibadan who reported that 83% of their patients with DM were either obese or overweight with more proportion of females in the obese and overweight categories. This may be attributed to the fact that females in Nigeria are generally less physically active and obesity may be considered as a sign of good living.[19]

About twenty percent of our subjects had good glycaemic control which is in keeping with the Diabcare[20] multicenter study in Nigeria held in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Enugu, and Port Harcourt that showed that only 20.4% of the patients with DM they evaluated had good glycaemic control. Forty seven percent (47%) of our subjects had poor control; this is similar to the findings of Unadike et al.[21] who reported poor control in 46% of the patients with DM they evaluated in Benin city, Nigeria. Poor glycemic control has been reported even in some cohorts in developed countries.[22] This is a wakeup call for caregivers to provide more enlightenment to patients on the need for good glycemic control since poor glycemic control leads to many complications.

The finding that those that were obese and overweight had poorer glycaemic control is similar to the findings of Khalid et al. in Saudi Arabia.[23] Obesity and adiposity are the main culprits of Insulin resistance and poor glycemic control.[24] The finding that males had better glycaemic control despite being older than the females studied may be attributed to their lower BMI and better adherence to dietary management and medications because aging is known to increase insulin resistance and leads to worsening glycemic control.[25]

Lifestyle modifications by changes to a healthy diet and exercise are the mainstay in the management of type 2 DM. The dietary changes required are diets with complex carbohydrates, vegetables, low fat, and low calories while the exercise recommended is at least 150 min of exercise per week.[26],[27]

Our patients observed less lifestyle modifications and gave more emphasis on medications, this finding is similar to that of Edah et al.[28] in Jos they reported that only 52.2% of their studied patients with DM exercise and the exercise was inadequate in 91.5% of them.

Poor exercise performance is thought to arise due to lack of physical training background, time restriction, and inability to maintain motivation.[29] Encouraging sporting activities among youth in schools will make them to develop sporting habits and may assist in curbing the rise of noncommunicable diseases in adulthood.

Peripheral neuropathy was seen in 61% of our patients. A study in Yola[30] Nigeria reported 87% prevalence of peripheral neuropathy among patients with DM and Ugoya et al.[31] in Jos reported a prevalence of 75%. A study from Kilimanjaro[32] in Tanzania reported a prevalence of 72.2% while the prevalence is about 34% among patients in the UK.[33] The high prevalence of peripheral neuropathy seen in our study and other studies in Nigeria and Africa could be attributed to the late diagnosis of DM in the continent and subsequent suboptimal control among the patients in Africa.

The 51% prevalence of visual impairment among our patients is higher than the 22.2% reported by Kohloun et al.[34] in Tunisia. Oluwatoyin[35] reported a prevalence of 21.6% among patients with DM in Southwestern Nigeria. Nwosu et al.[36] reported that 18% of the patients with DM they studied in Nnewi Nigeria had total blindness, 30% had visual impairment and 47% of the patients did not know that DM could lead to visual loss. The higher prevalence seen in our study could be attributed to poor access to healthcare in Northern Nigeria and late diagnosis.

The 41% prevalence of erectile dysfunction observed in this study is lower than the 94.7% prevalence reported by Ugwumba et al.[37] in Enugu and 51.3% reported by Selvin et al.[38] in the USA. This may be attributed to the difference in cultural perceptions of erectile dysfunction or barriers in communication. Oladiji et al.[39] study in Ilorin has shown that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction can be affected by age, length of marriage, and spousal social status.


Only 20% of our patients achieved good glycemic control and many have varying complications. Majority of the patients were either obese or overweight and complied more with medications as compared to dietary management and exercise. There is a need for clinicians to educate patients more on the need for lifestyle modifications.


The authors thank all the staff of the medical outpatient department FMC, Gusau who assisted in carrying out the study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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