WHO estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Each year 3.4 million people die from the consequences of high blood sugar. Almost 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his message on World Diabetes Day, 14 November, that diabetes is a development issue.
"The poor are disproportionately at risk, and affected families are often pushed further into poverty. Diabetes is also straining national health systems and threatening to reverse hard-won development gains."
WHO projects that diabetes deaths will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. There are two main types of diabetes. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge. 90% of people with diabetes around the world have type 2 diabetes which is usually attributed to excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The Day is celebrated on 14 November to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.
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