diabetes epidemic continues on “a relentlessly upward trajectory”, according to
officials from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the European
Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). The number of people with
diabetes in 2011 has reached 366 million (up almost 30 percent from 2010); 4.6
million will die from the condition, and healthcare spending is now US$465
billion a year . Comparable figures were released by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) : 346 million people worldwide have diabetes, and 3.4
million died from the condition in 2004. WHO estimates that in the period
2006-2015, China will lose US$558 billion in national income due to heart
disease, stroke and diabetes alone.
In the United States, diabetes now affects
25.8 million people of all ages, or 8.3 percent of the population, and is the 7th
leading cause of death ; but only 18.8 million are diagnosed, with the
remaining 7.0 million undiagnosed. Diabetes is hitting African Americans the
hardest, with 4.9 million or 18.7 percent aged twenty and older affected .
The diabetes epidemic has been sweeping
over the developing world with Southeast Asia among the hardest hit regions. India now has over 50 million people with type 2 diabetes, more than any other country in
the world . In 2010, the average age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes in India was 8 percent, higher than in most European countries. In 1928 and 1959, it was just
1percent or less.
In 2010, Australian and Vietnamese
researchers from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that about
11 percent of men and 12 percent of women in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City had
type 2 diabetes without even realizing it, in addition to the 4% of people
already diagnosed with the condition . The researchers blamed the growing
popularity of junk food high in sugar and fat, as well as inadequate exercise
The WHO statistics further reveals that type
2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes comprises 90 percent of cases, and until
recently only seen in adults, but is now found in children . The statistics
also showed that more than 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and
middle-income countries, and diabetes deaths are projected to double between
2005 and 2030.
consequences of diabetes
if untreated, can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerve. The
common consequences of diabetes are as follows .
risk of heart disease and stroke: 50 percent of people with diabetes die
of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke)
with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of
foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation
retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, occurring as a result of
long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina; after
15 years of diabetes, ~ 2 percent of people become blind, and ~ 10 percent
develop severe visual impairment.
is among the leading causes of kidney failure; 10-20 percent of people
with diabetes die of kidney failure
neuropathy affects up to 50 percent of people with diabetes; although many
different problems can occur, common symptoms are tingling, pain,
numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands.
overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least doubled that
of their peers without diabetes.
cause the epidemic and what to do?
overweight and obesity among adults and children is generally regarded as a
major driver for the diabetes epidemic, along with a sedentary lifestyle .
Over the past 20 years, the rates of obesity have tripled in developing
countries that have been adopting a Western lifestyle of decreased physical
activity and overconsumption of cheap, energy-dense foods. The Middle East, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and China face the greatest threat. The growing prevalence of
type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers is linked to excess
weight. It is estimated that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes is attributable to
excess weight . Population-based surveys of 75 communities in 32 countries found
diabetes rare in communities in developing countries that have preserved a
traditional lifestyle. By contrast, some Arab, migrant Asian Indian, Chinese,
and US Hispanic communities that have undergone westernization and urbanization
are at higher risk.
importance of physical activity was highlighted in a study in Australia, which
found that each hour per day spent in front of the TV is associated with an 18
percent increase in cardiovascular mortality (much of that associated in turn
with diabetes) , even after controlling for other risk factors such as body
weight, smoking, alcohol consumption and diet. In India, although the average
prevalence of diabetes is 8 percent, it is only 0.7 percent for non-obese,
physically active rural people, reaches 11 percent for obese, sedentary, urban
dwellers, and peaking at 20 percent in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, one of
India’s most urbanized states. Prevalence of diabetes is higher among
affluent, educated urban Indians than among the poor, uneducated rural people;
probably reflecting the ready availability of high-energy Western foods for the
former as well as a more sedentary lifestyle. Prevalence of diabetes average 16
percent for urban Indians and only 3 percent for rural Indians. A similar
concentration of diabetes among the urban population has been reported in many other
Fittingly, WHO emphasizes the importance
of healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight
and avoiding tobacco use in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In addition, governments should devote
much more effort into educating and empowering people to make these ‘lifestyle’
changes, by ensuring that healthy foods are widely available and affordable,
and to restrict the sale of junk foods high in sugar, fat, salt, and monosodium
glutamate, especially for the young (see  The Food, Inc. Horror
Movie, SiS 46).
Where ‘lifestyle’ changes fail, drugs are
used, although these carry a range of side effects. Consequently, traditional interventions
through common herbal and food medicines are becoming increasingly popular (see
New Cures from Old Foods, SiS 52)
Arthur Comment left 17th October 2011 18:06:54 All calories are not created equal.
The bigFood industry is primarily responsible for obesity by their excessive use of harmful high fructose syrup and synthetic sweeteners. Fructose unlike other sugars disables the body's intake / satiety control.
Dr sunny sandhu Comment left 18th October 2011 09:09:13 A very crucial link to diabetes is the lack of sunlight vitamin d n he day time and lack of sleep at night thus melatonin hormone a night. Role of vitamin d and melatonin in diabetes has been established in various clinical studies. Diabetes involving damage to pancreatic islEts can be controlled by Bodies antioxidants , by proper diet ; fasting , excercise. Sun plays a crucial role in health of the individual. In india our experiEnce has shown those practicisng traditional healing practices like Sooryayog and fasting once in a while unlikely to get diabetes and those who have will gain control over it . Sooryayog involves sun gazing and sun bathing in the morning. This practice can make a huge impact in health of the individual as it corrects the biological clock as well. natural Light and darkness deficiency has to be tackled with with increased awareness. Www.Sooryayog.com , www.sunsociety.in
Richard David Feinman Comment left 17th October 2011 16:04:19 The major cause of the continuation of the epidemic of diabetes is the entrenched establishment that continues to recommend high carbohydrate, low fat for a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. By controlling funding of research grants and editorial boards, they can repress new ideas for the seeable future. Reducing sugar without reducing total carbohydrate is another smokescreen. That his article which is so concerned with the consequences cannot question the established ideas is sad. There are three causes:
Physicians don't study nutrition. Nutritionists don't study medicine. Neither of them have training in science.
Alan James Comment left 18th October 2011 16:04:18 One possible component of the increasing incidence of obesity and diabetes is our over consumption of wheat.
Mikko Ahonen Comment left 25th October 2011 14:02:09 Diabetes is a chronic inflammatory condition.
Increased exposure to EMF (electromagnetic fields) leads to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity.
Increases in sympathetic nervous system activity lead to increases in inflammation.
In Type 1 diabetes, increases in inflammation will lead to poorer diabetes control. In an electromagnetically clean environment, Type 1 diabetics require less insulin and Type 2 diabetics have lower levels of plasma glucose.
Meris Michaels Comment left 26th October 2011 16:04:32 Type 2 diabetes can in part be caused by certain chemical pollutants, including BPA. Fetal exposure to certain pesticides which act as endocrine disruptors can favor the appearance of diabetes in later life. Research has shown that statins, especially Lipitor can increase risk of type 2 diabetes.
Brian Sandle Comment left 28th November 2011 11:11:23 I read malnourishment in adolescence may lead to offspring who are more diabetes-prone for some generations. Is anyone able to point me to approaches to dealing with epigenetic results of social policies, wars &c which may impose malnourishment and stress and have adverse epigenetic outcomes? Can we do more than wait? Is there a legal framework about affecting later generations when we know better?
John Fryer Comment left 16th October 2012 17:05:52 With the benefit of 2012 Sep published research on Monsanto NK603 Maize/Corn it is evident from this new proof of harm to our kidneys that this intake of increasing GMO food will be expected amongst many things to increase Type II diabetes.
As we unknowingly eat GMO food and have done for more than 30 years, the biggest single increase noted to date is the rise in diabetes.
For pre-diabetes we have in GMO countries 47 per cent of the population suffering.
If this had been labelled we would have clear evidence of where this catastrophe arose from.
Today we must not have labelling of GMO. We must get rid of this experiment where first world countries have been the experiment and at least half of us have lost. And the polluters must pay.