- by Diabetacare 24x7 Diabetes Care
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- Mar 17 2017
Diabetes Mellitus, A Modern Day Epidemic
Defined as a sudden widespread occurrence of an infectious disease, epidemic is an undesirable phenomenon. Diabetes Mellitus has emerged as one in the past few decades as it is not just limited to select number of countries but affects people worldwide. Diabetes occurs in two types- Type 1 and Type 2, which are both related to the production of the hormone insulin in the body and the ability of digesting sugar in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as the ‘juvenile onset diabetes,’ develops at an early age of around 12-15 years. It occurs due to the failure of pancreas to produce insulin leading to higher blood sugar levels in the body. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the body fails to process the sugar in the blood, due to insulin-resistance. Type 2 diabetes has become the most common form of diabetes all over the world even in children, and is closely related to obesity due to sedentary lifestyle, high carbohydrate intake and sugars.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the numbers have risen from just 108 million in 1980 to 415 million in 2016 and diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. If left unchecked or uncontrolled; it can lead to major complications in the body:
- Retinopathy: It is a complication that affects the eyes caused by damage to the blood vessels of retina. Initially, it may show mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
- Kidney damage: Due to filtering too much blood sugar, there is too much stress on the kidney eventually leading to its failure.
- Leg amputation: The poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet gives rise to foot complications. Cuts, blisters, infections take a long time to heal which pose danger for foot/leg amputation.
- Cardiovascular disease: Heart attack, stroke, chest pain are cardiovascular complications that occur due to uncontrolled diabetes.
Impact of diabetes worldwide
- 80% of people living in low-income countries and middle-income countries suffer from diabetes and are continuously growing at an alarming rate. For example, in India the number may rise to 80 million by 2030 up from the current 32 million.
- Diabetes poses as a major threat to global economic development, with unreasonable high human and economic costs on the countries.
- Need for more treatment options and life-saving therapies, like insulin, glucometer, etc.
- Major challenge for developing nations to help avoid foot amputations, infections and ulceration due to unmanaged diabetes.
How to deal with diabetes?
Treatment of diabetes mellitus involves lifestyle changes in order to regulate the blood sugar levels. It is high time that people start to implement these changes in their lives in order to control the spread of this epidemic. Although type 1 is unpreventable, type 2 can be easily avoided. Factors that play a role include diet, exercise, stress and genetics. You can’t do much about genetics, but by controlling what you eat and the level of physical activity, the risk can be drastically decreased. Effective care coordination and prevention at an individual level is necessary in order to avoid the condition from spreading globally.
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