Diabetes & Obesity: A Modern Day Health Problem.

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Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose comes from the food we eat and is our main source of energy.  Glucose is assisted by insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, to get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes our bodies do not make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then remains in our blood and doesn’t reach our cells.

As time goes on, too much glucose in our blood can cause serious health issues Diabetes has no cure. However, there are steps we can take to stay healthy. It is important to note that every case of diabetes is serious and should not be taken lightly. Diabetes affects both those who are suffering from the disease as well as those who have to care for them.

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Different types of diabetes.

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin cells in your pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any stage. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make or use insulin well. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any stage, including childhood. It is, however, most common in middle-aged and older people. It is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

It develops in some women when they are pregnant and often disappears after childbirth. However, your chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life are increased as a result of gestational diabetes. It is also possible that diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

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Other types of diabetes

There are other lesser common types of diabetes such as monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

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How common is diabetes?

Here are some interesting statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding the prevalence of diabetes:

The number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

The global prevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age rose from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014 (1), meaning that by 2014, 8.5% of adults aged 18 years and older had diabetes. In 2016, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.6 million deaths and in 2012 high blood glucose was the cause of another 2.2 million deaths.

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.

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By contrast, the probability of dying from any one of the four main non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases or diabetes) between the ages of 30 and 70 decreased by 18% globally between 2000 and 2016.

In the United States, as of 2015, 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. 1/4 of them were not aware that they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.

Risk Factors for Developing type 2 diabetes.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are 45 years or older,
  • have a family history of diabetes, or
  • are overweight.

Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also increase your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include prediabetes and gestational diabetes..

Health problems that people with diabetes can develop over time include:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems


Learn more about the steps you can take to lower your chances of developing these diabetes-related health problems which can seriously affect your quality of life or even result in death in our next articles.




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