Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. In 2014, 8.5% of adults aged 18 years and older had diabetes. In 2019, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. In 2012, there were another 2.2 million deaths due to high blood glucose. Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes. In high-income countries the premature mortality rate due to diabetes decreased from 2000 to 2010 but then increased in 2010-2016. In lower-middle-income countries, the premature mortality rate due to diabetes increased across both periods. By contrast, the probability of dying from any one of the four main noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases or diabetes) between the ages of 30 and 70 decreased by 18% globally between 2000 and 2016. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. As for example, adults with diabetes have a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation. Besides that, diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Do you know that diabetes is the cause of 2.6% of global blindnes? This disease is among the leading causes of kidney failure. Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the disease.
To help prevent diabetes and its complications, people should:
- achieve and maintain a healthy body weight;
- be physically active – doing at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;
- eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats; and
- avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Below is the the common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- Being really thirsty
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Losing weight without trying to
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision