10 Surprising Facts About Diabetes

Diabetes Facts

Diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone, even people who don’t have a family history of it. Here are ten surprising facts about diabetes: 

More than 500 million globally have diabetes. According to International Diabetes Federation  

  • Approximately 537 million adults (20-79 years) are living with diabetes. 
  • The total number of people living with diabetes is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045
  • 3 in 4 adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries 
  • Almost 1 in 2 (240 million) adults living with diabetes are undiagnosed 
  • Diabetes caused 6.7 million deaths 
  • Diabetes caused at least 966 billion dollars in health expenditure – 9% of total spending on adults 
  • More than 1.2 million childrenand adolescents (0-19 years) are living with type 1 diabetes 
  • 1 in 6 live births (21 million) is affected by diabetes during pregnancy 
  • 541 million adults are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes 

People with diabetes are much more likely to develop heart disease. 

According to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, people with Type 2 diabetes are about 50% more likely to develop heart disease than people without diabetes. 

Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease in several ways. It increases blood coagulation and inflammation and can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. These processes can cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), leading to coronary artery disease and heart attacks. 

Diabetes is a risk factor for eye disease, including macular degeneration and cataracts. 

Macular degeneration occurs when the central part of the retina—the macula—is damaged. The macula is responsible for sharp vision, making it essential to your ability to see clearly.  

Cataracts are another common eye disease that can develop in people with diabetes. Cataracts are clouding of the lens inside your eye, which interferes with light passing through it and reaching your retina. 

Diabetes can cause serious kidney damage. 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause serious damage to your kidneys. 

If you have diabetes, you may experience kidney disease if you don’t manage your blood sugar levels and get regular checkups with your doctor. 

The most common type of kidney disease associated with diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. 

This form of kidney disease is characterized by the gradual loss of functional nephrons—the tiny filters in your kidneys that help remove waste products from your blood.  

As more functional nephrons are lost, the remaining nephrons must work harder to perform the filtering process. 

If left untreated, diabetic nephropathy can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which requires dialysis or kidney transplantation to replace lost kidney function. 

Diabetes affects the nervous system. 

Diabetes can affect the nervous system in several ways. First, it may cause nerve damage, leading to numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy. 

Second, diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that control digestion and other functions of the gastrointestinal tract—autonomic neuropathy. 

Third, diabetes can affect your nerves’ ability to send signals to your brain—called sensorimotor polyneuropathy. 

Skin problems are a common complication of diabetes. 

Skin problems are a common complication of diabetes. Diabetes can affect your skin in many ways, including causing dryness and irritation, which makes it more difficult to maintain healthy skin. Skin problems caused by diabetes include: 

  • Dry skin. People with diabetes often have dry skin because their bodies don’t produce enough oil called sebum. Sebum helps keep your skin moisturized and healthy. 
  • Itching. This can be caused by dryness or high blood sugar levels. 
  • Blisters or sores on the feet and toes (foot ulcers). These are usually caused by nerve damage, which happens when your blood sugar levels are too high for a long time. 

Approximately 1 in 4 people diagnosed with diabetes don’t know they have it. 

Approximately 1 in 4 people diagnosed with diabetes don’t know they have it. This means they may not control their blood glucose levels or even know what their blood glucose levels are supposed to be! The best way to determine if you have diabetes is to get tested by your doctor as soon as possible. 

Foot pain that doesn’t go away can be a sign of diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. 

If you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or both, foot pain is a common complaint. And while it’s often related to other issues like nerve damage and circulation problems (both of which can be treated), sometimes it can signal something more serious: a heart problem. 

One or both of these conditions could cause foot pain that doesn’t go away. If you experience persistent foot pain in one or both feet that aren’t relieved by rest or over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor about what might be causing it.  

Diabetes is more common than you think, so it’s important to understand how to manage it if you have it or how you can prevent it if you don’t. At Medeor Hospital, our multi-disciplinary team of board-certified experts is committed to helping you manage your diabetes to live a long, healthy life. 

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