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Is the world losing the battle against diabetes?

by , 19 November 2013

Diabetes is often dubbed the epidemic of the 21st century. And the latest figures released last Thursday (14 November) on World Diabetes Day are testament to that. It shows that diabetes has reached epidemic proportions…

The number of people estimated to be living with diabetes has hit a new record.

According to CBC News, statistics by the International Diabetes Federation show that diabetes cases have hit a record 382 million worldwide. That number is expected to soar to 592 million by 2035.

The latest estimate from the International Diabetes Federation is equivalent to a global prevalence rate of 8.4% of the adult population and compares to 371 million cases in 2012. By 2035, the organisation predicts the number of cases will have soared by 55%.

Experts say the world is losing the battle against diabetes

“The battle to protect people from diabetes and its disabling, life-threatening complications is being lost,” the federation said in the sixth edition of its Diabetes Atlas. Noting that deaths from the disease were now running at 5.1 million a year or one every six seconds.

David Whiting, an epidemiologist and public health specialist at the federation said: “Year after year, the figures seem to be getting worse. All around the world we are seeing increasing numbers of people developing diabetes.”

The vast majority of people have type II diabetes, the kind linked to obesity and lack of exercise and the epidemic is spreading as more people in the developing world adopt Western, urban lifestyles, CBC News reports.

Experts also noted that, worryingly, an estimated 175 million of diabetes cases aren’t diagnosed as yet and this means a large number of people are progressing towards complications unawares.

In South Africa, 3.5 million South Africans are living with diabetes.

Is there anything you can do about diabetes?

Scientists say a strategy involving all parts of society is needed to improve diets and promote healthier lifestyles.

While scientists continue to hunt for improved diabetes treatments, in the meantime, take these steps to reduce your risk of diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, use these measures to avoid complications. This’ll help ensure the world doesn’t lose the battle against diabetes.

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