The blood sugar level of a healthy person should be between 4.5 to 7mmol. Super Morning Show host Kojo Yankson survived an almost certain early demise, despite a sugarl level standing at a whopping 117.
Mr Yankson is one of four million Ghanaians living with diabetes – a growing epidemic which has informed a group of volunteers to partner with Joy FM to launch “The Sugar Project.”
Running from water and relying on soft drinks for three years, Kojo Yankson set himself on a dangerous collision course with a deadly case of diabetes.
“Water in the UK is processed with lots of chemicals so it doesn't taste very nice to drink. It is harmless but just doesn't taste good. So I didn't like water”, Kojo explained his unusual abstinence regime.
It was as if he had planned to be named the unhealthiest adult in the Guinness Book of Records because a life without water for 72 months is nobody's idea of a proper lifestyle.
“As at 2007 when I became sick the last time I drank water was in September 2004 when I came to Ghana. Whenever I went to the shop to buy water and I realized that Fanta was cheaper I just bought Fanta. So I started getting very thirsty. So here is a guy who doesn't drink water. I just drank juice, soft drinks, fanta…I could go through six cartons of Ceres a day. So the sugar just kept piling up in my system”.
Diabetes also called “sweet urine” is caused by the inability of a person's pancreas to produce enough insulin to absorb glucose or energy into your system. With unabsorbed energy trapped in your body, it finds its way into the blood, eventually giving urine a sweet taste.
While your urine tastes sweet, the body sweats to find energy despite already having more than enough – if only insulin was enough to absorb it.
“My body had to survive so it was finding fat to burn…. this diabetes disciplined my body in a week”, he narrated. Weighing 110 kilos, his body ravaged excess fat in his body until he lost 50kilos in 7 days.
His girlfriend, Lilian came to his rescue one night when he could hardly open his eyes – another sign of diabetes destructive march to bring down the young man to an early life of self-imposed blindness.
“Lilian saved my life”, a thankful Kojo stated. It was she who sent him to the hospital for medical attention and brought him back home in a taxi. Weak and nearly unconscious, Kojo collapsed in front of his house on the return trip from the hospital, kissing bricks goodnight.
His poor girlfriend had to drag his unconscious body inside their home.
“Taxi drivers are not allowed to touch passengers. So he refused to help me up. Poor Lillian had to drag me into the house”.
Kojo narrated how an emergency situation the following day which had both his girlfriend and his doctor calling for emergency services to rush him to the hospital. Two ambulances therefore showed up at his doorstep to carry the unconscious man to the hospital.
The “sweet disease” was not satisfied with the crash. The diabetes train dragged him down into a coma which lasted two and a half months.
He regained consciousness only to be greeted with a better-than-death-announcement: "Thank God you are alive. But you have diabetes" his doctor said.
Kojo today is grateful to have the chance to make up for a poor lifestyle. He gets two shots of insulin a day and is leading a campaign to dramatise the dangers of consuming too much sugar in particular and adopting poor health habits.
The Sugar Factory is a campaign to provide easy access to efficient and reliable diabetes testing and education centres and help those living with diabetes manage with a 'healthy' lifestyle.
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