Today is World Health Day, and to mark the occasion, the World Health Organization has released its first ever global report on diabetes. The results are frightening.
The world has seen a nearly four-fold increase in diabetes cases over the last quarter-century, driven by excessive weight, obesity, aging and population growth, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. 422 million people were affected in 2014.
WHO said 8.5% of the world population had diabetes two years ago, up from 4.7%, or 108 million, in 1980.
“We need to rethink our daily lives -- to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain,” WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan said on Wednesday. The Geneva-based agency blamed growing consumption of food and beverages high in sugar for the increase in diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body either does not make enough insulin to break down the sugar in foods or uses insulin inefficiently. It can cause early death or serious complications like blindness, stroke, kidney disease, amputation and heart disease.
Here’s how you can get tested:
1 Oral glucose tolerance test
This test is done after having 75gm of glucose in 200ml of water two hours after fasting. Results below 140 mg/dl are considered healthy, 140-199 mg/dl pre-diabetic and more than 200 mg/dl - diabetic.
2 Glycerated haemoglobin test
It measures the patient’s average blood sugar over the past three months. 6-7% is categorised as healthy but for people over 65 years with complications such as heart disease, the reading should be 7.5%.
Lowering the risk of diabetes:
1 Stay active and walk 10,000 steps every day.
2 Avoid eating processed food.
3 Cut back on sugar simple carbs such as refined flour.
4 Maintain a healthy weight
5 Lose belly fat
6 Get six to seven hours of sleep daily.
7 Get blood sugar levels tested at the age of 30 if your immediate family (mother, father, brother or sister) have diabetes.
What are the complications:
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause eye damage, stroke, cerebral circulation damage, gum disease, heart, kidney disease, peripheral nerve damage, blood circulation problems in the legs, foot ulcers and amputations.