Diabetes – the facts
One in 15 people in the UK have diabetes. This includes one million people who have Type 2 but haven’t yet been diagnosed. In the UK, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around 422 million people are living with diabetes worldwide. Between 1980 and 2016 the number of people with diabetes quadrupled.
The rise is partly attributed to increases in the number of people who are overweight – including an increase in obesity – and in a lack of physical activity.
The largest numbers of people with diabetes were estimated for the South East Asia and Western Pacific Regions, accounting for approximately half the diabetics in the world.
Deaths from diabetes
Furthermore, diabetes is one of the leading causes of diabetes in the world. There are 1.6 million deaths directly attributed to diabetes each year. The majority of these deaths happen in low and middle-income countries.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition where someone is unable to adequately regulate their blood glucose levels. The body produces the hormone insulin which helps the body burn off sugars. If someone’s body has problems with insulin production, they will develop diabetes. If glucose can’t get into your cells, it begins to build up in your blood.
Having too much glucose in your blood causes many different problems.
Diabetes is caused by insufficient insulin or ineffective insulin. There are two main types – Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 can occur in any age group but is most commonly diagnosed in children. It is not generally linked to lifestyle or weight but affects insulin production. Type 1 diabetics usually control their diabetes with injections of insulin
Type 2 Diabetes
This is the more widespread type. It tends to develop later in life, and is often linked to obesity. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body is unable to make enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Type 2 Diabetes is controlled by diet, exercise or oral medication – or a combination of all 3.
Diabetes is preventable
In fact, it has been suggested that it is possible that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented: by 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days and a healthy diet can seriously reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some patients are diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, or having insulin resistance. Often this diagnosis can be reversed with lifestyle changes, modifying the diet, exercising and losing weight.
Diabetes can also occur in pregnant ladies – gestational diabetes. This usually resolves post birth.