Diabetes And Its Complications

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make use of the insulin it produces. This leads to raised levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia) which in turn causes damage to the body and the failure of various organs and tissues

There are 3 main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational.

  • Type 1 Diabetes (previously known as juvenile-onset diabetes) occurs when the cells that produce insulin are attacked by the body’s own defence system. People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin so need to control the levels of glucose in their blood with daily injections of insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or young adulthood but can affect people of any age. [13]
  • Type 2 Diabetes (previously known as adult-onset diabetes) accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes and can stay undetected for many years. Type 2 diabetics are resistant to insulin and/or insulin deficient. It is often, but not always, associated with being overweight or obese. People with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition through exercise and diet but, over time, most people will require oral drugs and or insulin. [13]
  • Gestational Diabetes (high blood glucose levels during pregnancy) affects 1 in 25 pregnancies and can cause serious problems for mothers and babies. It increases the risk of premature birth and approximately half of mothers affected will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. [13], [29]

How Many People Are Affected by Diabetes?

415 million adults currently have diabetes.

By 2040, the number of people affected by diabetes is expected to rise to 642 million - that's 1 in every 10 adults across the world.

Every 6 seconds someone dies from diabetes. [13]

What Health Problems Does Diabetes Cause?

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to infections and serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, teeth and nerves.

Diabetes can damage the nerves throughout the body (diabetic neuropathy). Among the most commonly affected areas are the extremities, in particular the feet, leading to pain, tingling and loss of feeling. Loss of feeling can allow injuries to go unnoticed, leading to ulceration and serious infections.