Diabetes is a medical condition arising from the failure of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin. It may also occur when the body cannot produce the required amount of insulin to aid the normal functioning of the body. Insulin is an essential hormone that controls the quantity of blood sugar in the body. When the level of blood sugar is not monitored, body systems can undergo a process of damage. The most fundamental body systems are nerves and blood vessels. Researchers have conducted numerous studies on diabetes to help discover new knowledge on mitigating the effects on human population.
Background Information and Definition of Terms
Type 1 diabetes is a medical condition characterized by the insufficient production of insulin needed for daily body administration (WHO, 2013). The cause of this type is not well known and thus cannot be easily prevented with the available knowledge. The symptoms include excessive production of urine, recurrent hunger, weight loss, fatigue, and gradual loss of vision. Similarly, type 2 diabetes is described as the condition resulting from the ineffective use of insulin by the body (WHO, 2013). This is the most common condition that accounts for 90 percent rate among people (WHO, 2013). The symptoms are similar to type 1; it is caused by excess body weight and lack of physical activity. Consequently, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes described as hyperglycemia with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. The symptoms are similar to type two and often diagnosed through the prenatal screen at the expense of reported visible symptoms.
Facts and Figures about the Issue
According to a report by World Health Organization, more than 347 million people were believed to be suffering from diabetes worldwide in 2004 (Wild et. al, 2004). It is further reported that about 3.4 million died as a consequence of high blood sugar (WHO, 2013). Similar numbers and cases of death were also reported in 2010 with statistics indicating that a further 80 percent of deaths occur in low and idle income countries (WHO, 2013). Perhaps, these countries have not been able to put in place measures and strategies for dealing with this global problem. The situation would be worse if type 2 diabetes was infectious. Medical professionals would have responded by declaring it an epidemic. The occurrence of the condition is worrying because initially it was considered a medical problem for adults and the elderly; however, today the condition has begun affecting teenagers and children.
Figure/Chart to Illustrate the Topic
Figure 1 showing the global diabetes rate in 2017 and estimation for 2045. Adapted from Statista.
According to the chart above, it was estimated that global prevalence of diabetes in 2017 was 8.8 percent (Statista, 2017). However, the rate is expected to increase to 9.9 percent by the year 2045 (Statista, 2017). This is a projection based on analysis of past and current trends.
Where and why it is happening
In the United States, about 24 million people are known to suffer from the disease; unfortunately, 6 million out of the numbers are not aware that they are suffering from the disease (WHO, 2013). The disease has consumed a considerable amount of medical funds. According to statistics, in 2007 the United States incurred more than 116 billion dollars in the form of excess medical costs and spending and a whopping 58 million dollars as a result of reduced productivity (WHO, 2013). Based on the current trends, the numbers of those likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes is set to increase tremendously soon. In the United States, the number is predicted to be 439 million in the year 2030 (WHO, 2013).
Table 1 shows list of countries with the highest numbers of estimated cases of diabetes for 2000 and 2030. Retrieved from Diabetes Journal: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/5/1047.
The facts and figures are even more alarming considering that many countries are not well equipped with resources and personnel to deal with the problem. Studies have revealed that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure among adults and the elderly (WHO, 2013). Considerably, it causes mild to severe nerve damage that often leads to amputation of some body parts. It also increases the chances and occurrence of heart disease. In the United States, it is ranked the seventh cause of death. Fortunately, the medical condition especially type 2 can be prevented. Around 90 percent of the cases can be avoided if people take the necessary steps in checking their weight, eating healthy diets, and avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol (WHO, 2013).
Causes and Effects
As pointed out earlier, there is no definite cause for type 1 diabetes. However, there are risk factors that are known to cause type 2 diabetes. These include having excess weight, increased blood pressure, genetic inheritance, and mothers previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The other causes include inappropriate diet characterized by eating foods with too many fats and sugar. Further, people living a sedentary lifestyle devoid of physical exercise have high chances of developing complications. The effects of diabetes are numerous and are direct or indirect. Diabetes increases the risks of contracting heart disease, increasing chances of developing cancer, responsible for mild blindness, causes kidney failure, and overall loss of productivity when people die.
Impact of the Issue on the World and UAE
Globally, diabetes is known to reduce chances of people accessing employment opportunities and wages. According to surveys, diabetes is associated with high-cost burden where people and their families face high costs to access treatment and prevention mechanisms (WHO, 2013). It poses a considerable health challenge to low and middle-income countries across the world. In the United States, for instance, diabetic individuals have to use more than $283,000 to access medical attention, the highest more than any other country (WHO, 2013). It poses a higher burden to people where men are unable to work and fulfill their societal obligations. The global rise in numbers is as a result of globalization, urbanization, changed eating habits, and sedentary lifestyles. Diabetes is associated with direct costs such as hospital and doctor visits, equipment costs and indirect costs such as loss of retirement benefits and lost productivity due to illness. Experts have found out that diabetes is a growing problem in UAE (Dina, 2008). About 19.5 percent of the human populations in UAE are living with diabetes (Dina, 2008). According to the data, about 40 percent of those with over 60 years have diabetes, and the number is expected to increase (Dina, 2008). Diabetes has placed an extensive burden on the UAE healthcare system. The cost of accessing treatments has contributed to an increase in insurance premiums in the private sector.
There is need to reduce the burden posed by diabetes through prevention. Prevention of the condition revolves around maintaining a healthy life. People are encouraged to maintain healthy body weight, eating healthy diets, reduced smoking, and promoting early diagnosis (Havard, n.d). Success depends on reducing the health factors associated with diabetes. Further, individuals with diabetes can be treated with oral medication and administration of insulin.
Diabetes is a global problem. It affects all countries, though many cases have been reported in low and middle-income countries. These countries have not been proactive enough in addressing the problem. Fortunately, WHO has initiated programs and intervention mechanisms aimed at reducing the effects of diabetes to the global population. World Health Organization has responded through surveillance, prevention, and control of complications. This has been achieved by providing scientific guidelines, developing standards and values for diagnosis, and the creation of global awareness on diabetes and its effects.
Dina El Shammaa. (2008). Diabetes is a growing problem in UAE – experts. Gulf News.
Available at: http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/diabetes-is-a-growing-problem-in-uae-experts-1.84110. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
Havard. (n.d). Simple steps to preventing diabetes. Havard. Available at:
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/#references. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
Statista. (2017). “Percentage of diabetics in the global adult population in 2017 and 2045”.
Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/271464/percentage-of-diabetics-worldwide/. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
WHO. (2013). Diabetes. WHO Media Center. Available at:
https://web.archive.org/web/20130826174444/http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
Wild, S., Gojka, R., Green, A., Sicree R. and King, H. (2004). Global prevalence of diabetes.
American Diabetes Association. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/5/1047. Retrieved April 23, 2018.