BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Sugar is the new tobacco, say health experts, and with almost 350 million people suffering from diabetes around the world, we might say they’re right. Diabetes is a chronic condition that boils down to a person’s body being unable to metabolize the sugar in foods they eat.
According to a recent report, there are roughly 1.5 million people dying each year due to complications of the disease. Seeing that this Saturday, November 14, marks the World Diabetes Day, the health community is trying to raise awareness about the diabetes, especially because sugar has become the crowned king of foods and diets.
There are two main forms of diabetes. Type 1 – usually affecting children or young adults – is the lesser known form, as it accounts only for 5 percent of those with diabetes. Symptoms include not being able to produce insulin, the hormone responsible with regulating blood sugar.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes – also known as adult-onset diabetes – is far more prevalent, causing the body to produce too little insulin or being resistant to it. There are various therapies and lifestyle practices that can help control blood sugar levels and keep the disease in check.
However, if diabetes goes unmanaged, it can affect the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, skin and hearing. In the worst cases, toes need to be amputated due to poor blood flow to the, or even the foot or the leg. Diabetes can also increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular problems, as well as the odds of blindness onset.
Medical experts are still baffled as to why some people seem to be more prone than others to developing Type 2 diabetes. Those who are overweight can have that risk increased, but not all overweight people will also develop diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, and American Indians present a higher risk of developing diabetes per general. At the same time, Type 2 diabetes also has a genetic element, which means it has a tendency of running in families.
Seeing that an increasing majority of diabetes patients live in low-income countries, the lack of access to healthcare often leads to people going blind, suffering from organ failure and even dying from the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes will become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by 2030.
An increase of 45 percent in diabetes prevalence from 1990 to 2013 is primarily blamed on urbanization, sedentary lifestyles and poor diets – high in calories and sugar and low in nutrients.
Image Source: Flickr