Diabetes Diabetes results from inability of the pancreas

Diabetes
mellitus (DM) is the most common endocrine disease with prevalence worldwide
estimated to be 2.8% in 2000 and 4.4% in 2030 (Wild et al., 2004) while in animals, especially dogs and cats, the
prevalence was estimated as 0.4 – 1.2% (Richard and Claudia, 2014). The rapidly
increasing prevalence of DM worldwide poses a serious health risk in the 21st
century. DM is rapidly emerging as a major public health problem in Nigeria
with the prevalence of Type II DM, according to the International Diabetes
Foundation/WHO reports estimated to be over 3.4% of 24 million Nigerian DM
sufferers between the ages of 20-79 years and with projected estimate of 3.9%
rise in 2025 (Chikezie et al., 2015).

Diabetes
mellitus leads to metabolic abnormalities and is characterized by hyperglycemia
resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both (Fonseca et al., 2000). This high blood sugar
produces classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia
(increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

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Type
1 Diabetes results from inability of the pancreas to release insulin leading to
low rates of glucose uptake into muscles and adipose tissue. Type 2 diabetes
usually occurs in obese individuals and is associated with hypertension and
dyslipidemia. thus the treatment goal is to reduce insulin resistance and to
stimulate insulin secretion. Although, oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin are
the mainstay of treatment of diabetes, they have prominent side effects and
fail to significantly alter the course of diabetic complications (Maghrani et al., 2004), The common side effects
associated with oral hypoglycemic agents are hypoglycemia, weight gain,
gastrointestinal disorders, peripheral oedema and impaired liver function, in
addition to the cost of treatment (Mallare et
al., 2005).

Traditional
medicine (herbal) is used for treatment of diabetes in developing countries
where the cost of conventional medicines is a burden to the population
(Hongxiang et al., 2009). Medicinal
plants are readily available and have low side effects; many of these plants
have been found to be useful in the management of diabetes. However, only a few
have been subjected to detailed scientific investigation due to a lack of
mechanism-based available in vitro
assays (Hongxiang
et al., 2009). Several herbal
remedies used in the management of diabetes have been reported to possess
hypoglycemic effects (Grover et al.,
2002; Macedo and Ferreira, 2004; Djomeni et
al., 2006) and it has been reported that the array of anti-diabetic
bioactive principles in these plants may act in synergy to exert glycemic control (Liu et al.,
2005). Among these plants is Momordica
charantia L Fam. Cucurbitaceae (African cucumber, bitter gourd, bitter
melon).