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Key facts about diabetes

Published:Wednesday | November 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM

n World Diabetes Day is Friday, November 14, 2014.

n 347 million people worldwide have diabetes.

n In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes.

n More than 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

n The World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030.

n Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

n Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

n Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 50 per cent of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).

n Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation.

n Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. One per cent of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes.

n Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure.

n The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes.

n Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive blood testing.

n Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications.

n Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:

q achieve and maintain healthy body weight;

q be physically active - at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;

q eat a healthy diet of between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake;

q avoid tobacco use - smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.