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Medically classifying a sugar problem in Africans

09 September 2014, 09:52 Peregrino Brimah

Objective: “Jedi-jedi” is a very common presenting complaint in medical centers and social circles in West Africa. The symptom, constellation of symptoms or syndrome is not formally classified as a disease entity or syndrome in orthodox medical practice. Low back pain and erectile dysfunction are some of the more common presenting complaints that are qualified as Jedi-jedi. Sugar is largely implicated in the etiology of this health problem and abstaining from sugar and herbal remedies are commonly used to remedy the symptoms.

Method: Data were obtained from survey res­pondents who participated in a 2013-2014 ENDS internet survey. 298 respondent forms were used for the study. The survey was conducted online through the Survey Monkey internet survey platform. Respondents were gathered from Every Nigerian Do Something, ENDS.ng visitors and through posting on several other Nigerian internet media fora.

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Results: Analysis showed that 80% of respondents reported having experienced Jedi-jedi. Most respondents were men and 98% were Nigerians.  56% reported low back pain as the most common presenting symptom of Jedi-jedi.  Next was anal pain, 46%; bloody stool, 36% and erectile dysfunction, 35.5%. Constipation and anal itching recorded 26% and 29% respectively.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a large number of Nigerians are familiar with “Jedi-jedi” as a “disease” or as presenting symptom(s) of “disease.” Erectile dysfunction and low back pain are the most common presentations.  Most respondents utilized herbal remedies for the conditions considered to be Jedi-jedi. Table sugar is the most commonly implicated factor in its etiology. We conclude that Jedi-jedi needs to be properly studied towards formal medical classification and management.

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