Facts about diabetes from World Health Organization
The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in middle- and low-income countries. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012**. Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years. WHO projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030 (1). Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.
What are consequences of diabetes?
Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Adults with diabetes have a twoto three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation. Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. 2.6% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes (3). Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure.
How can burden of diabetes be reduced?
Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.
To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should: achieve and maintain healthy body weight; be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control; eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake; and avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive testing of blood sugar.
Treatment of diabetes involves diet and physical activity along with lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications.
Interventions that are both cost-saving and feasible in developing countries include: blood glucose control, particularly in type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin; blood pressure control; and foot care.
Other cost-saving interventions include:
screening and treatment for retinopathy (which causes blindness) blood lipid control (to regulate cholesterol levels) screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease and treatment.
WHO aims to stimulate and support the adoption of effective mea- sures for the surveillance, prevention and control of diabetes and its complications, particularly in low and middle-income countries. To this end, WHO: provides scientific guidelines for the prevention of major noncommunicable diseases including diabetes; develops norms and standards for diabetes diagnosis and care; builds awareness on the global epidemic of diabetes, marking World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14; and & conducts surveillance of diabetes and its risk factors. The WHO Global Report on Diabetes provides an overview of the diabetes burden, the interventions available to prevent and manage diabetes, and recommendations for governments, individuals, the civil society and the private sector.
The WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health complements WHO's diabetes work by focusing on population-wide approaches to promote healthy diet and regular physical activity, thereby reducing the growing global problem of overweight people and obesity.
Researcher Olivier Blanson Henkemans, from TNO the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, helps Ruben van As, 7, to log on to play with Charlie Robot at the Gelderse Vallei hospital in Ede, the Netherlands, on June 28, 2016. Cheeky Ruben is just seven and learning to read. But thanks to his new knee-high buddy Charlie robot he can expertly measure his blood sugar and count carbohydrates in a glass of milk. (AFP)