Diabetes increases around the globeAccording to a recent report by the International Diabetes Federation, there is an estimated 382 million individuals worldwide who have diabetes. Unfortunately, more than 592 million people are expected to have the condition by 2035.
Experts, however, seem to be less shocked by the news. They argue, instead, that what is most frustrating is that we have knowledge about the condition, we understand how to protect people, and we know the debilitating effects of the disease but have done little to battle it. Not only that, but there are some real costs for individuals, cities and countries both socially and economically. And unlike other crisis that we are facing, this condition affects everyone- rich and poor alike.
Diabetes could be a bigger problem than we think
Experts also suggest that the problem could be much bigger than we really anticipate. Right now about 5% of the population has Type 1 diabetes, the type where a persons body does not produce sufficient insulin to convert sugar and starches into energy. Others have Type II diabetes, which can occur when a persons body develops a resistance to the insulin their body produces. This condition, which generally occurred only in adults, is now seen frequently in children, especially as the rate of obesity in young children and young adults has increased.
Americans have traditionally had the highest number of diabetic cases with an estimated 24.4 million Americans having the disease in 2013. Unfortunately, the incidence in other countries has also skyrocketed. In several countries the incidence has risen as the population has become wealthier. Disposable income now allows the citizens to buy imported products such as food, which may not be as healthy or as natural as the products they historically grew and ate. For example, 37.5% of the population of Tokelau, located northeast of Fiji, has diabetes.
Diabetes may go untreated in certain countries
What is almost as disconcerting as the increase in the prevalence of diabetes throughout the world is the lack of care for many individuals with the condition. For instance, in many countries, such as Africa, many diabetics will have their condition undiagnosed and untreated because of a lack of awareness in these countries.
What can we do about the increase in diabetes?
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that the equivalent of $548 billion was spent on health care for diabetes patients around the world in 2013. This means this problem affects all of us. Obviously we only have control over ourselves and our children, but awareness is the first step. The goal for all of us should be to exercise, eat a healthy diet and set an example for our children.
Diabetes is treatable, and it is also generally avoidable with the right lifestyle changes. This is not a disease that cannot be combated with the right steps. If you have prediabetes, which an estimated 316 million people do, you still have time to avoid the disease. Take the right steps to keep yourself healthy now.