The worrying global trends of diabetes and prediabetes
Written by LloydsPharmacy - www.lloydspharmacy.com
The number of people around the world who have some form of diabetes has more than doubled in the last 30 years, going from an estimated 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008, according to a study published last year in medical journal The Lancet. The research, which examined the data of 2.7 million people from 199 countries, found that diabetes is rising globally at a dramatic rate due to a combination of increasing populations, longer life expectancies and age-specific factors.
Rising obesity levels were also identified as an important contributing factor and there was considerable variation between different areas. For instance, Western Europe recorded one of the smallest rises among high-income sub-regions, while North America saw the highest. Diabetes was also found to have become more widespread in South Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East between 1980 and 2008.
There is also an alarming number of people who have "prediabetes" - a condition in which blood sugar levels are too high to be healthy and are inhibiting insulin production, but are not yet high enough to be classed as diabetes. According to a recent study from the American Diabetes Association, there are 79 million people with the condition in the US alone. However, while diabetes is a rising problem worldwide, it can be managed and treated through diet, exercise and medicines. Insulin, one of the most vital medicines when it comes to treating diabetes, is widely available through high street chemists across the globe such as LloydsPharmacy and Boots in the UK and CVS and Walgreens in the US.
Explaining how simple it is for patients from all areas of the world to protect themselves from diabetes, Alison Freemantle, a pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy, says: “Obesity is the single biggest cause of Type 2 diabetes, but the good news is that by losing just ten percent of their body weight, people can reduce their risk. They can do this by removing refined carbohydrates from their diet - the kind found in sweets, sugary soft drinks, white bread and white rice. These high-glycaemic foods cause spikes in blood sugar levels and should be replaced with fresh fruits, vegetables and fish or wholegrain alternatives.
“Regular exercise should also be a priority for anybody concerned about developing diabetes. Just a 30-minute brisk walk every day can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by nearly a third by improving circulation and burning off carbohydrates. Smokers are also considerably more likely to become diabetic later in life, which is yet another good reason for them to kick the habit.”
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