Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Diabetes Statistics – Reliable Numbers

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. Besides promoting diabetes care and prevention, the IDF tracks statistics on diabetes and diabetics on a worldwide basis.

The Federation publishes the Diabetes Atlas, a collection of statistics and comments on diabetes which is issued from time-to-time. The Atlas is based on data supplied by its members. As these are national associations, the facts and figures published by the IDF are considered quite reliable.

According to the 6th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, which was published in 2013, the total population of the world is 7.2 billion. This is expected to have risen to 8.7 billion by 2035, ie in 22 years time.

This total population includes 4.6 billion adults and these has been projected to reach 5.9 billion by 2035. The IDF defines an adult as a person aged 20-79 years, the most likely age range for the development of type 2 diabetes.

According to the Diabetes Atlas, 382 million people around the world or 8.3% of all 4.6 million adults (20-79 years) are estimated to be suffering from diabetes. Almost half of all adults with diabetes are aged 40-59 years, the age range during which people are at their most productive phase in life.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country. If current trends continue, the IDF expects that there will be more than 592 million diabetics by 2035, a rise of 55%, when one adult in ten will be diabetic.

Undiagnosed diabetes

Type 2 diabetes may be undiagnosed for several reasons. There are few symptoms in the early years of the disease. In addition, the complications vary so widely that, even when symptoms do exist, diabetes may not be recognised as the cause.

The IDF figure for 382 million diabetics in 2013 includes 175 million who are undiagnosed. I must admit I was astounded when I first read that 46% of diabetics are undiagnosed. How can you count something if you don’t know it exists?

Estimating the number of undiagnosed diabetics, I discovered, is relatively easy. All the IDF had to do was to arrange tests for a sample of people living in a particular area. The tests, which are carried out by the IDF’s national associates, identify both known and unknown cases of diabetes, and it is a simple mathematical exercise to extrapolate to the population as a whole with a high degree of accuracy.

Many (but not all) persons who know they have the disease will be making some attempts to beat their diabetes. The problem with undiagnosed diabetes is that these diabetics will not be managing their blood glucose levels and may be developing complications, such as kidney disease, heart failure, retinopathy and neuropathy, unbeknownst to themselves.

Regional differences

The Diabetes Atlas provides statistics for 219 countries which the IDF have grouped into seven regions: Africa, Europe, the Middle East & North Africa, North America & the Caribbean, South & Central America, South-east Asia, and the Western Pacific.

The IDF estimates that 80% of diabetics live in low- and middle-income countries where the disease is increasing very fast and posing a threat to development. The prevalence of diabetes, however, varies widely from region to region and country to country. It also varies widely within regions… to an extent that suggests that the grouping of countries into regions by the IDF needs revising.

While about 8% of adults (aged 20-79) in the Western Pacific have diabetes, in certain countries in that region the proportion of adult diabetics is much higher. In Tokelau, for example, 37.5% of adults are diabetic. The figure for the Federated States of Micronesia is 35%.

In the Middle East and North Africa, nearly 11% of adults have diabetes. However this is an average for the entire region and the figures for the Arabian Gulf states are much higher, more than double the average, with 24% of adults in Saudi Arabia, 23.1% in Kuwait and 22.9% in Qatar being diabetic.

Undiagnosed diabetes also varies from region to region. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa up to 90% of diabetics are undiagnosed, mainly due to a lack of resources and priorities. By contrast, in high-income countries about one-third of the people with diabetes have not been diagnosed.

In most countries diabetes is increasing in tandem with rapid economic development, which is leading to changes in diets, ageing populations, increasing urbanisation, reduced physical activity and unhealthy behaviour. Many governments, however, seem to be unaware of the growing crisis and the likelihood of serious consequences that could stifle their countries’ development.

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

The IDF estimates that about 316 million people or 6.9% of adults (20-79) have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). By 2035 this number is expected to have risen to 471 million (8.0% of the world’s adult population).

This is serious, as people with IGT or pre-diabetes have a greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. IGT is also linked with the development of cardiovascular disease.

The majority of adults with IGT (about 3.5% of the world’s total adult population) are under the age of 50 and are thus at a high risk of becoming type 2 diabetics later in life. Even more worry-some is the fact that nearly 1/3 of all those who have IGT are aged 20 to 39 years. Unless they overhaul their life-styles these people are virtually guaranteed to become diabetic later in life.

Adding the number of diabetics worldwide (382 million) to the number of people with IGT (316 million) gives a total of 698 million. In other words, nearly 10% of the total population of the world or over 15% of all adults (20-79) have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

By comparison, only 33.4 million people on this planet are living with HIV/AIDS… about 1/20th of all diabetics and pre-diabetics. It’s glaringly obvious that diabetes and pre-diabetes represent a massive crisis that is threatening to overwhelm global health systems.

Deaths

Received opinion is that the medical complications caused by diabetes, such as heart failure and kidney disease, are major causes of death in most countries.

However, it is very difficult to accurately estimate the number of deaths because (a) more than a third of countries do not maintain data on death due to diabetes and (b) routine health statistics under-record these deaths, because the death certificates on which these statistics are based often omit diabetes as a cause of death.

To overcome these problems, the IDF uses a modelling approach to estimate the number of deaths attributable to diabetes, and appears to have come up with some reasonable estimates.

Diabetes is expected to be the cause of about 5.1 million deaths in adults aged between 20 and 79 in 2013 and nearly half (48%) of these will be people under the age of 60. Diabetes ranks as a leading cause of premature death.

These deaths represent about 8.4% of all deaths of adults (20-79). Deaths due to diabetes are increasing. The estimated overall number of deaths in 2013 represents an 11% increase over the estimates for 2011. Death from diabetes is on a rising trend.

Health costs

There is no cure for diabetes. For this reason, diabetics have to look after their health assiduously. Where they are unable to control their diabetes through diet and exercise, they have to resort to regular medication. This can be expensive both for health systems and for diabetics and their families.

The IDF has estimated global health spending on diabetes to be at least USD 548 billion dollars in 2013… 11% of the total spent on adult health. This is expected to exceed USD 627 billion by 2035.

Where diabetes is undiagnosed, the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment are lost. Thus, the costs relating to undiagnosed diabetes must be considerable. One study found that undiagnosed diabetes in the USA was responsible for an additional USD 18 billion in healthcare costs in one year.

There are large disparities in spending between regions and countries. Only 20% of global health expenditure on diabetes was made in the low- and middle-income countries where 80% of diabetics live. On average, the estimate spend in 2013 is USD 5,621 per diabetic in high-income countries but only USD 356 in low- and middle-income countries.

However, when individual countries are compared, the disparities are extremely stark. Norway spends an average of USD 10,368 on diabetes healthcare per diabetic, while countries such as Somalia and Eritrea spend less than USD 30.

The costs associated with diabetes, however, are much wider that just the costs of providing the appropriate health services. The overall costs include losses in productivity, social costs such as disability payments, and losses of income. Without a doubt, diabetes imposes a heavy economic burden on countries, families and individuals.

What Is Diabetes? Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes is also referred to as diabetes mellitus, and may broadly be classified as a category of ailments wherein a person has high blood glucose levels. This could be either because insulin production in one’s body is not sufficient, or the body fails to respond to the insulin in the required way. Some of the symptoms that are very commonly associated with diabetes are frequent thirst, hunger and urination.

In some cases, diabetes could be a lifelong condition, characterized by high blood glucose levels. The condition is commonly prevalent, and in the year 2013, 382 million people across the world were suffering from the disorder.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is very often classified as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. When one suffers from type 1 diabetes, the body ceases to produce insulin. This type of diabetes is relatively rarer, and only 10% of people suffering from the ailment are ailing from Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is also sometimes referred to as insulin dependent diabetes or early onset diabetes. And this type of diabetes is more prevalent in people under 40 years of age, even in one’s teenage years or early adulthood.

If one is ailing with type 1 diabetes, he has to take insulin injections for the rest of his life, follow a specific diet and also monitor his blood glucose levels by carrying out blood tests at regular intervals.

However, type 2 diabetes is a lot more prevalent type of diabetes, and nearly 90% of people who suffer this disorder are ailing with type 2 diabetes. When one suffers from type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin in adequate quantities, or the body cells do not react to insulin, in a condition known as insulin resistance.

For many people, type 2 diabetes is a condition relatively easier to control, and one can keep a check on symptoms of type 2 diabetes by maintaining one’s weight in recommendable limits, making sure that one consumes a healthy diet, getting some regular exercise, and monitoring one’s blood glucose levels at regular intervals.

Gestational Diabetes

An important classification of diabetes is gestational diabetes which affects women during pregnancy. During pregnancy, women sometimes have blood glucose levels which are more towards the higher side, and their body does not produce adequate insulin to transport this glucose into their cells.

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes can be made only during pregnancy, and a vast majority of patients can control their condition by means of diet and exercise. However, 10-20% of patients need to take specific medications to keep a check on their blood glucose levels.

An important way that can enable one to prevent the condition is by making sure that one consumes a low cholesterol diet during pregnancy.

When Do People Get Diabetes?

When one is overweight, he is at a higher risk of developing diabetes. One of the reasons for the same is because when one is obese, the body releases chemicals which can work towards destabilizing body’s metabolic and cardiovascular systems.

So being overweight, not consuming the right kind of a diet and developing type 2 diabetes are all interrelated. Another important factor that is known to greatly enhance the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is aging.

Alternately, some of the other factors that can cause diabetes are genetics, one’s family history, or even following an unhealthy diet regimen.

Some Simple Lifestyle Changes To Overcome Diabetes!

To keep a check on diabetes, one must avoid skipping meals. This could hike the blood sugar levels, and could even lead to weight gain. Taking care of one’s diet is a factor that can go a long way in enabling one keep a check on diabetes, or even overcome the condition.

Similarly, consuming a diet which is high on fruits and vegetables can help control diabetes, because fruits and vegetables are full of fibers. This helps us keep full, and the high vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables helps ensure that the body receives nutrition. This keeps one energetic, and one is not tempted to go for sugary foods.

As a rule, one must avoid all foods which have a higher glycemic index, like chips and salty snacks, and one must keep a check on consumption of fatty foods as well. Similarly, starches from white rice, potatoes and whole grains could also influence diabetes.

Something as simple as drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day is a factor which can go a long way towards prevention and control of diabetes. In the same way, even a slight weight loss can work wonders for someone who is a diabetic. While being the healthiest way to get over diabetes, a slight weight loss of up to 5-10% can have the same effect on a diabetic as anti-diabetic pills!

Tips On Controlling Diabetes With Diet And Exercise

Controlling diabetes with diet and exercise is something that every diabetic is tasked with because the alternative is bleak. Medications or insulin shots can only do so much. Diet and exercise allow you to lessen the effects of diabetes on your body and life and help you thrive even with this diagnosis. In the case of type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise may even allow you to reverse this type of diabetes. Get in the game. Fight for your life and health. Diet and exercise is the best way to accomplish this.

The Outlook is Bleak

Not taking a proactive approach to diabetes treatment will lead to kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, high blood pressure, stroke, infections and wounds that are slow to heal or never heal, limb amputation and even falling into a diabetic coma when severe. Controlling diabetes with diet and exercise is one of the best ways to ensure that this is not your present and future.

But you need not be afraid or feel powerless because simple changes to your lifestyle can produce amazing results and you will be able to live a long and productive life even if you have the more serious type 1 diabetes which is not curable or preventable.

Controlling Diabetes with Diet and Exercise

1. Controlling Diabetes with Diet

The word “diet” has such negative connotations and at the mere mention of it, many people recoil. At the mention of the word, most people think it means that you won’t be able to eat anything you like, or anything delicious, or will be starving and so forth.

But when a diet for diabetes is talked about, it simply means a well thought out plan for eating. In some cases, you may even be able to still eat some “bad” foods on occasion as long as you are aware of how they will impact your diabetic eating plan and what adjustments you may need to make when you eat these “bad” foods so that your blood sugar levels do not go crazy and cause you problems.

In addition, creating a proper diabetes eating plan will help you get a better understanding of how various foods impact blood sugar levels which will help you make the decision on which foods to eliminate and which to include. For instance, soft drinks, refined grains, etc, have been shown to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also increasing inflammation in the body. Knowing this will help you make the choice to eliminate soft drinks (regular and diet) and hopefully encourage you to drink more water and to select complex carbs in placed of processed foods made from refined grains.

It is important to remember that a healing diabetes diet will vary from one diabetic to another. You have to find the diet that will work for you. Some diabetics may be able to eat certain foods whereas another many have to eliminate that food. There isn’t one diet that will work in all cases. One may need to follow a low fat, high carbohydrate diet while another may need to follow a low carbohydrate, high vegetable diet, etc. Find what works for you.

While you may be confused about what to eat and what to avoid, you should be prepared to experiment with various recommended foods to see which ones raise your blood sugar levels and which ones help to normalize it.

To find which foods are best for controlling blood sugar, you need to monitor your blood sugar levels for a period of time such as two to three weeks. Measure your blood glucose levels first thing in the morning, after breakfast, after meals as well as snacks and also before you go to bed. Also measure the sugar levels before and after physical activity.

Once you have an understanding of how your blood sugar levels are affected, you will then be in a better position to create a diet plan that works for you and helps heal your body naturally.

2. Controlling Diabetes with Exercise

The other aspect of controlling diabetes is exercise. It is amazing how effective exercise can be against type 2 diabetes especially. The best thing you can do against diabetes is exercise. It is also the least expensive when you consider how much you have to spend on diabetes medications, insulin injections, etc. Effective exercise can be as simple as a walk or run, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.

Moderate exercise performed consistently that leads to modest weight loss has been shown to prevent insulin resistance that can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Those who have diabetes also benefit from regular exercise as exercise can not only help control blood glucose levels but can also help prevent serious complications from diabetes.

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is one of the main issues with the development of type 2 diabetes and results from the body not recognizing the insulin that is produced by the body which keeps glucose in the blood and not removed from the blood and transferred to the cells where it is needed for energy which ends up starving the cells in the body.

By improving insulin sensitivity with the help of exercise, this glucose will be removed from the blood by insulin and transferred to the cells and used more efficiently by the cells without any issues which will help to manage blood glucose levels.

Exercise (and diet) is also the best way to control weight. Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels and the main culprit is obesity as it has been found that at least 80 percent of type 2 diabetes patients and those with pre-diabetes have been found to be obese. It is believed that obesity can lead to insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes and type II diabetes.

It is also important to monitor blood sugar levels before and after exercise. If you have type I diabetes, you will need to make sure that you do not overly exert yourself to the point of becoming hypoglycemic which is a state of low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can lead to fatigue, dizziness, sweating, headaches, trembling and if severe, consciousness can be lost as well as falling into a coma.

Those with type II diabetes though they have more leeway with exercise, should still monitor their blood sugar levels before and after exercise.

If you are on medication, you need to work with your doctor to make the necessary adjustments to your exercise regimen. In addition, diabetics who deal with neuropathy need to ensure that the nerve endings in the feet are protected. High impact running or jogging may not be advised in cases of neuropathy.

Dehydration is another area for diabetics to be concerned about when exercising since frequent urination is one of the symptoms of diabtes. High impact exercise can also affect the capillaries in the eyes that have been weakened by diabetes. If you have eye problems due to diabetes, make sure that the exercise selected will not make vision problems worse or cause rapture which can occur especially if you use weights.

Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program and set realistic goals in order to avoid too high or too low blood sugar levels as well as the other issues that exercise may cause in people with diabetes. Start small and gradually build up.

Exercise is an important component of diabetes management and many of its other benefits include helping to lower blood pressure, raising good cholesterol (HDL) levels, strengthening bones, toning the heart and other muscles, eliminating stress, weight loss, strengthening the respiratory system, etc. Do it no matter how you feel. You will feel better and after you finish you will fill like you can conquer the world including diabetes!