Nearly 500 million people have diabetes, but most are not receiving proper treatment, and more than half have yet to be formally diagnosed with the disease, according to new global research.
Many people simply do not know that they have a condition that is relatively easy and inexpensive to treat, and that, if left untreated, it will shorten their lives, destroy their hearts, blow off an artery in their brain, destroy their nerves, and blind them. . or have their legs cut off.
The big picture is that diabetes worldwide has more than quadrupled since 1980, a growth rate that appears to have left doctors and patients with their feet on the ground.
The study findings have been provided to the World Health Organization, “which is developing efforts to expand the provision of evidence-based diabetes care globally as part of an initiative known as the Global Diabetes Compact.”
What is the breakdown of the study?
The study was led by physicians from the University of Michigan and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
It is based on standardized household survey data, “to allow apple-to-apple comparisons across countries and regions.”
The authors analyzed data from surveys, examinations and tests of more than 680,000 people between the ages of 25 and 64 conducted around the world in recent years.
More than 37,000 had diabetes; More than half of them had yet to be formally diagnosed, but they did have a key biomarker of elevated blood sugar levels.
Most were not receiving “the comprehensive package of care” (low-cost medications to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and advice on diet, exercise and weight) that could make their lives healthier, longer and more productive.
Only one in 10 people with diabetes in the low- and middle-income countries studied received this comprehensive care.
Nations in the Pacific Oceania region had the highest prevalence of diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, but the lowest rates of diabetes-related care.
But bad care was not strictly a poor country problem.
The Latin America and the Caribbean region ranked second after Oceania in the prevalence of diabetes, but had much higher levels of care.
The authors note that high-income countries like the United States do not consistently provide evidence-based care to people with diabetes.
Australians take away food
Being overweight or obese is the predominant gateway to developing type 2 diabetes, especially once you are over 45 years old.
About two-thirds of adults (and one-quarter of children) are already classified as obese or overweight.
According to Diabetes Australia, 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes.
About 1.8 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (1.3 million known and recorded), as well as silent and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to an estimated 500,000).
Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.
Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. Because type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, the signs are sometimes dismissed as part of “aging.”
In some cases, when type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, complications from diabetes may already be present.
Symptoms include …
Being excessively thirsty
Passing more urine
Sudden weight loss
Feeling tired and lethargic
Always feeling hungry
Having cuts that heal slowly
Itching, skin infections
Tingling in the feet and fingers, also known as peripheral neuropathy.
Treatment is more than just taking a pill
Most people are initially prescribed metformin in pill form to control blood sugar levels and regulate the liver.
It is a very good drug, but its effectiveness may start to wane after five years.
Many people just take this pill and think that everything will be fine.
When first diagnosed, it can take several weeks for the condition to stabilize, at which point you will be referred to a nurse or diabetes counselor who is usually assigned to a pharmacist one or two days a week.
This is the person who will show you what you can eat and how much, and will serve as a cheerleader for you to change your habits.
Losing weight, improving your blood pressure, bringing your cholesterol to a healthy level, exercising regularly, drinking more water – all the boring things you always hear about.
You also need to have your eyes checked once a year and your feet checked for healthy blood flow.