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10 Facts About Diabetes

What is diabetes?

 
Diabetes is a defect in the body’s ability to convert glucose (sugar) to energy. Glucose is the main source of fuel for our body. When food is digested it is changed into fats, protein, or carbohydrates. Foods that affect blood sugars are called carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, when digested, change to glucose. Examples of some carbohydrates are: bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, fruit, and milk products. Individuals with diabetes should eat carbohydrates but must do so in moderation.

Glucose is then transferred to the blood and is used by the cells for energy. In order for glucose to be transferred from the blood into the cells, the hormone - insulin is needed. Insulin is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin).

In individuals with diabetes, this process is impaired. Diabetes develops when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient quantities of insulin – Type 1 diabetes or the insulin produced is defective and cannot move glucose into the cells – Type 2 diabetes. Either insulin is not produced in sufficient quantities or the insulin produced is defective and cannot move the glucose into the cells.

There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes in the United States. There does appear to be a genetic  component to Type 1 diabetes, but the cause has yet to be identified.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes primarily affects adults, however recently Type 2 has begun developing in children. There is a strong correlation between Type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity and obesity.

WHO - 10 Facts About Diabetes:


1. More than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes.


There is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes that can be traced back to rapid increases in overweight, obesity and physical inactivity.

2. Diabetes is predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030.



Total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years.

3. There are two major forms of diabetes.



Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and type 2 diabetes results from the body's ineffective use of insulin.

4. A third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes.



This type is characterized by hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, which has first appeared or been recognized during pregnancy.

5. Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes.



Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children – previously rare – have increased worldwide. In some countries, it accounts for almost half of newly diagnosed cases in children and adolescents.

6. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50% and 80% of deaths in people with diabetes.



Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

7. In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high blood sugar. 

 

8. 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

 


In developed countries most people with diabetes are above the age of retirement, whereas in developing countries those most frequently affected are aged between 35 and 64.

9. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure. 


Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services and essential medicines, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

10. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented.


Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days and a healthy diet can drastically reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.

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