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Diabetes pandemic

Diabetes is a global epidemic affecting an estimated 382 million people worldwide. The WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. An estimated 4 million people die annually from diabetes complications.

Why is diabetes such a dangerous disease? Diabetes is one of the most common
non-communicable diseases. It is a chronic disease occurring when the body’s pancreas does not product enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin produced. Diabetes can cause chronic complications.

  • Diabetic cardiomyopathy, damage to the heart, leading to diastolic dysfunction and eventually heart failure.
  • Diabetic nephropathy, damage to the kidneys which can lead to chronic renal failure, eventually requiring dialysis.
  • Diabetic neuropathy, abnormal and decreased sensation which, when combined with damaged blood vessels can lead to diabetic foot, in some cases requiring amputation.
  • Diabetic retinopathy, severe vision loss or blindness.

Who is affected by diabetes? This disease affects all ages, genders and races. In 2013, 382 million people (8.3% of the population) were suffering with diabetes globally. 55% of these diabetic patients were from the APAC region. The APAC region was followed by the EMEA region, which accounted for 29% of the diabetic population.

Type 1 DM (10% of cases) Also known as “insulin dependent” or “juvenile diabetes”, this variation results from the body’s failure to produce insulin. Patients are required to inject insulin daily or wear an insulin pump in order to manage the disease.

Type 2 DM (about 90% of cases) Also known as “Adult-onset Diabetes”, results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. Disease management requires daily monitoring of blood glucose levels. The condition can deteriorate requiring daily insulin injections or an insulin pump.

Gestational DM is the onset of hyperglycemia recognized during pregnancy.
Source: IDF Annual Report 2013

Daily impact: Dietary restrictions, physical activity, blood glucose testing, regular self-injections of insulin and even insulin pumps can be required for disease management.