More than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes.
Diabetes is predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030.
There are 2 major forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and Type 2 diabetes results from the body's ineffective use of insulin.
A third type of diabetes is Gestational diabetes.This type is characterized by hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, which has first appeared or been recognized during pregnancy. According to 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with diabetes must plan childbearing carefully. It is especially important to keep blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible before and during pregnancy, to protect both mother and baby.
The risk of heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes, is more serious among women than men. Among people with diabetes who have had a heart attack, women have lower survival rates and a poorer quality of life than men. Women with diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than women without diabetes, and women are at greater risk of blindness from diabetes than men. Death rates for women aged 25 - 44 years with diabetes are more than 3 times the rate for women without diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes. Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children - previously rare - have increased worldwide. In some countries, it accounts for almost half of newly diagnosed cases in children and adolescents.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50% and 80% of deaths in people with diabetes. Cardiovascular disease remains to be one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases (NCD) deaths with 17 million deaths or 48% of NCD deaths globally.
In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high blood sugar.
80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In developed countries most people with diabetes are above the age of retirement, whereas in developing countries those most frequently affected are aged between 35 and 64.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days and a healthy diet can drastically reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
References — 1Diabetes UK: www.diabetes.org.uk, 2World Health Organization: www.who.int, 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov