March 22, 2016 has been designated by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as an Alert Day, a wake up call, to the risk of diabetes, particularly each individual’s personal risks for developing the chronic illness.
Given the seriousness of diabetes and its epidemic prevalence in the United States and other Westernized nations, diabetes mellitus deserves more than one alert each year. Diabetes is an illness that can affect your health in numerous ways in addition to that of your blood sugar level.
Diabetes Numbers Across the Globe
The United States and other Western nations around the world are facing increasing numbers of people with diabetes, numbers that have increased as the rates of obesity in those same countries have increased.
The problem of the rise in diabetes diagnoses isn’t limited to the United States. Here’s a glimpse of statistics from around the globe:
Australia: Approximately 1.7 million people in Australia have diabetes, with 280 people/day developing the disease there. Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia.
United Kingdom: Approximately 3.5 million people in the U.K. have been diagnosed with diabetes, approx. 3 million of whom live in England; nearly 300,000 live in Scotland; over 180,000 live in Wales and more than 80,000 people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with diabetes. Another half million people in the U.K. are thought to be living with undiagnosed diabetes.
Canada: 3.4 million people, more than 9 percent of the total population, have diabetes. Another 5.7 million people age 20 years and over have prediabetes, representing just over 22 percent of the population.
United States: In 2010, the United States had nearly 26 million people with diabetes. In 2012, that number increased to over 29 million people. In 2010, the United States had 79 million people age 20 years and older with prediabetes. In 2012, that number swelled to 86 million.
Diabetes is an insidious chronic disease that can damage your kidneys and eyesight before you’re even aware you have it. Knowing your risk factors for developing diabetes in addition to regular health care will help you recognize the disease in its early stages.
Men are more likely than women to have diabetes and not know it, perhaps because many men see a doctor less regularly than do many women
Women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) are twice as likely as other women to later develop type 2 diabetes
If you have a parent or sibling who has diabetes, it could increase your risk of developing the disease
High blood pressure increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
The older you are, the greater your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
Being physically inactive can increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
People with high BMIs are at great risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those with lower BMIs
Lowering Your Risk for Developing Diabetes
As the rate of obesity has climbed in the United States and elsewhere, so has the rate of diabetes. You cannot control the risk factors associated with diabetes such as your age, sex or family history, but you can gain control over your eating habits and level of physical activity.
Working toward obtaining and maintaining a weight within normal limits by eating a nutritionally adequate and balanced diet and getting regular, moderate physical activity may help you avoid developing diabetes. Obtaining and maintaining a health weight coupled with regular physical activity may also help to reduce your blood pressure, another risk factor associated with the development of diabetes.
Freelance writer of 15+ years who is passionate about writing. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences background. Avid reader.Thirty-plus years experience as a registered nurse. Have lived in various parts of the United States, including a recent seven-year stint in Oklahoma City and back home now in Ohio. Writes about U.S. News, Health and Politics for The Daily Voice News. Contact me at [email protected]