What is Diabetes
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, potentially debilitating and often fatal disease. The disease occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of insulin in the body. Either the body produces no or insufficient insulin (type 1 diabetes), or the body cannot use the insulin it produces effectively (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps ‘sugar’ (glucose) to leave the blood and enter the cells of the body to be used as ‘fuel’.
Two types of diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependent, immune-mediated or juvenile-onset diabetes. It is caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the insulin-producing cells. The reason why this occurs is not fully understood. People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. The disease can affect people of any age, but usually occurs in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood. If people with type 1 diabetes do not have access to insulin, they die.
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes do not usually require injections of insulin. Usually, they can control the glucose in their blood by watching their diet, taking regular exercise, oral medication, and possibly insulin. Type 2 diabetes is most common in people older than 45 who are overweight. However, as a consequence of increased obesity among the young, it is becoming more common in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. If people with type 2 diabetes are not diagnosed and treated, they can develop serious complications, which can result in an early death. Worldwide, many millions of people have type 2 diabetes without even knowing it. Others do not have access to adequate medical care. The onset of type 2 diabetes is also linked to genetic factors but obesity, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet increase the risks.
Some women develop a third, usually temporary, type of diabetes called 'Gestational Diabetes' when they are pregnant. Gestational diabetes develops in 2-5% of all pregnancies, but usually disappears when the pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)
People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) have glucose levels that are above normal but below the level at which diabetes is diagnosed. People with IGT have a signifi cant risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are thus an important target group for primary prevention. Changes in lifestyle, including diet and physical activity can greatly reduce the onset of diabetes.
Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Diabetes Is Preventable and Controllable
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Their blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. An estimated 79 million U.S. adults had prediabetes in 2010. Group support programs that help people with prediabetes develop better eating habits, improve their coping skills, and increase their physical activity level have been proven to be effective.
People with prediabetes who lose 5%–7% of body weight and get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Disability and premature death are not inevitable consequences of diabetes. Physical activity and dietary interventions, self-management training, ongoing support, and, when necessary, medications can help control the effects of diabetes. By working with a support network and health care providers, a person with diabetes can prevent premature death and disability.
The Economic Impacts of Diabetes
Submitted by admin on Sun, 08/16/2009 - 06:24
Diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the individual, national healthcare system and economy. Healthcare expenditures on diabetes were 11.6% of the total healthcare expenditure in the world in 2010. About 80% of the countries covered in this report are predicted to spend between 5% and 13% of their total healthcare dollars on diabetes.
Global healthcare expenditure
Estimated global healthcare expenditures to treat and prevent diabetes and its complications were to total at least US Dollar (USD) 376 billion in 2010. By 2030, this number is projected to exceed some USD490 billion. Expressed in International Dollars (ID), which correct for differences in purchasing power, global expenditures on diabetes were at least ID418 billion in 2010, and at least ID561 billion in 2030. An average of USD703 (ID878) per person were spent on diabetes in 2010 globally.
Expenditures spent on diabetes care are not evenly distributed across age and gender groups. More than three-quarters of the global expenditure in 2010 was used for persons who are between 50 and 80 years of age. Also, more money is expected to be spent on diabetes care for women than for men.
Disparities in healthcare spending
There is a large disparity in healthcare spending on diabetes between regions and countries. More than 80% of the estimated global expenditures on diabetes are made in the world’s economically richest countries, not in the low- and middle-income countries where over 70% of people with diabetes live.
One country, the United States of America, projected to spend USD198 billion or 52.7% of global expenditure in 2010, while India, the country with the largest population of people living with diabetes, spent an estimated USD2.8 billion, or less than 1% of the global total. An estimated average of USD7,383 per person with diabetes is spent on diabetes-related care in the USA but less than USD10 per person spent in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire and Myanmar in 2010.
The financial burden borne by people with diabetes and their families as a result of their disease depends on their economic status and the social insurance policies of their countries. Those living in low-income countries pay a larger share of the expenditure because of poorer organized systems of medical care insurance and/or lack of public medical services. In Latin America, for instance, families pay 40-60% of medical care expenditures from their own pockets. In the poorest countries, people with diabetes and their families bear almost the whole cost of the medical care they can afford.
Impact on the economy
Besides excess healthcare expenditure, diabetes also imposes large economic burdens in the form of lost productivity and foregone economic growth. The American Diabetes Association estimated that the US economy lost USD58 billion, equivalent to about half of the direct healthcare expenditure on diabetes in 2007, as a result of lost earnings due to lost work days, restricted activity days, lower productivity at work, mortality and permanent disability caused by diabetes. Such losses are perhaps relatively larger in poorer countries because premature death due to diabetes occurs at much younger ages. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicted net losses in national income from diabetes and cardiovascular disease of ID557.7 billion in China, ID303.2 billion in the Russian Federation, ID236.6 billion in India, ID49.2 billion in Brazil and ID2.5 billion in Tanzania (2005 ID), between 2005 and 2015.
The largest economic burden, therefore, is the monetary value associated with disability and loss of life as a result of the disease itself and its related complications. This economic burden, however, can be reduced by implementing many inexpensive, easy-to-use interventions, most of which are cost-effetive or cost-saving, even in the poorest countries. Nonetheless, these interventions are not widely used in low- and middle-income countries.