If you or someone you love have diabetes or are at risk for it, please read these 10 must-know facts on diabetes. There are over 246 million people in the world today who currently have some form of diabetes, and many more who have diabetes but have not been diagnosed yet.
1. There are 3 main types of diabetes:
- gestational diabetes, is common in pregnant women who never suffered from diabetes before but develop high blood glucose levels
- Type I diabetes happens when the body fails to produce insulin
- Type II diabetes results from a condition called insulin resistance (the cells do not use insulin properly) and sometimes causes an absolute insulin deficiency.
2. Although there are treatments to improve life by far with diabetes, Type I and Type II diabetes are chronic conditions that cannot be cured for the most part. Gestational and Type I diabetes are treated with insulin, and Type II diabetes is usually controlled with medication.
3. An interesting fact on diabetes is that India is considered the diabetes capital of the world. Experts are predicting that by 2025 there will be 70 million diabetics in India. One of the main contributing factors is the prevalence of people with apple-shaped bodies in India, which put them at a higher risk for diabetes than those with pear-shaped bodies.
4. Untreated or under-treated diabetes can lead to complications such as hypoglycemia, cardiovascular disease, retinal damage (which may later cause blindness) and chronic renal failure. It is estimated that diabetes or diabetes-related illnesses kill 3.2 million people across the world every year.
5. The main cause of the increase in diabetes is many modern cultures' inactive lifestyle. Every two hours spent daily watching TV is associated with a 14 percent increase in a person's chances for developing diabetes. This fact on diabetes is important because if people at risk for the disease change their lifestyle, eat healthy diet and exercise regularly, the overall number of incidents of diabetes can be delayed or reduced by at least 50 percent.
6. Diabetes decreases a person's life expectancy by about 5 to 10 years. Women have a lower risk of dying from diabetes and diabetes-related illnesses than men.
7. Diabetes sufferers are more vulnerable to complications that arise from pneumonia and the flu. 10,000 to 30,000 of the people who die from diabetes this year will be caused by the flu and pneumonia.
8. Over 1 million of the amputations performed each year are related to diabetes. Almost half of all amputations due to diabetes probably could have been prevented with examinations and proper treatment early on.
9. An astonishing fact on diabetes is treating it costs $200 billion in the United States alone every year. This includes money spent on medicine, amputations, hospitalizations, disability, lost productivity and early retirement.
10. Babies who are breastfed for a minimum of three months may be less likely to become overweight as adults and have a lower chance of developing Type I diabetes.
There are many more facts on diabetes than the 10 listed above, so if you have or think you have this condition and are interested in learning more, please consult a doctor.