Leading the FIGHT against obesity, diabetes and related illnesses
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications include diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.
- Type 1 DM results from the pancreas’ failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. The cause is unknown.
- Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as “non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. The primary cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.
- Gestational diabetes, is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood sugar level.
Prevention and treatment involve a healthy diet, physical exercise, not using tobacco and being a normal body weight. Blood pressure control and proper foot care are also important for people with the disease. Type 1 diabetes must be managed with insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes may be treated with medications with or without insulin. Insulin and some oral medications can cause low blood sugar. Weight loss surgery in those with obesity is sometimes an effective measure in those with type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.
As of 2014, an estimated 387 million people have diabetes worldwide, with type 2 diabetes making up about 90% of the cases. This represents 8.3% of the adult population, with equal rates in both women and men. From 2012 to 2014, diabetes is estimated to have resulted in 1.5 to 4.9 million deaths each year. Diabetes at least doubles a person’s risk of death. The number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. The global economic cost of diabetes in 2014 was estimated to be $612 billion USD. In the United States, diabetes cost $245 billion in 2012.