Diabetes: What do you know about it?

Foot care guide for people with diabetes
Credit: Diabetes.co.uk
What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive noncommunicable disease (NCD) which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which is needed to regulate blood glucose (blood sugar), or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it does produce. Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar level, which is important for providing us energy.

Sugar can increase to harmful levels in the blood when there is insufficient insulin. This can lead to damages in all of our major organs, from our hearts to our kidneys. It can also lead to blindness, impotence, and infections that can result in amputation.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. The cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown and people living with it require a daily intake of insulin for survival.
Diabetes that majority of people suffer from globally is the type 2, and it is caused by excess body weight and physical inactivity. Previously, type 2 diabetes is only common in adults but now occurs in children and young people.
Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnancy and carries a long-term risk of type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is experienced when blood sugar levels are above normal but still below those diagnostic of diabetes. It is a temporary condition.

Random facts about Diabetes

1. 422 million adults worldwide live with diabetes .

2. Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Higher-than-normal blood sugar which increases the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases also caused an additional 2.2 million deaths. 43% of all deaths due to diabetes occur before the age of 70.

3. The prevalence of diabetes has been steadily  increasing for the past 3 decades & is growing most rapidly in low & middle-income countries.

4. The complications of diabetes can lead to heart attack, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and lower limb amputation. E.g. The rates of lower limb amputation are 10 to 20 times higher for people suffering from diabetes.

5. Access to insulin is a matter of life or death for many people living with diabetes. Essential medicines & technology (including insulin) needed for treatment are generally available in only one-third of the world’s poorest nations.

6. The starting point for living well with diabetes is an early diagnosis, because many cases of diabetes type 2 can be properly managed.

Live a good lifestyle

A healthy diet, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can all help reduce your risk. Diabetes is both preventable and treatable. Living a good lifestyle helps reduce the risk of being diagnosed with the disease while diagnosis and access to treatment can help prevent complications and deaths.

Remember, the overall risk of dying early if you suffer from diabetes is twice that of people who don’t have the disease! Stay healthy! Stay fit!

Credit- WHO