When you eat, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin in order to regulate blood sugar. But when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when the body can’t effectively use that insulin, you develop diabetes, a chronic disease marked by hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar. Over time, uncontrolled diabetes can cause serious damage to the body, especially to nerves and blood vessels. Over the last few decades, the number of people around the world with diabetes has increased dramatically -- from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
Keeping diabetes at bay:
- Since the 1980s, diabetes has become increasingly prevalent in middle- and low-income countries. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
- In 2016, the World Health Organization estimated that diabetes was the world's seventh-leading cause of death. An estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes that year.
- Doctors say that a healthy diet, regular physical activity, a normal body weight, and avoiding tobacco use can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form of the disease.