14 November 2011
There is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes that can be traced back to rapid increases in overweight, obesity and physical inactivity
346 million people worldwide have diabetes
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 50% – 80% of deaths in people with diabetes. Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly from increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lack of awareness, insufficient access to health services and essential medicines, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
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.