Here's What You Need to Know About Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common illnesses today. Discover what you need to know about this disease and how it's treated.
Here's What You Need to Know About Diabetes

Last update: 18 March, 2019

Diabetes is currently not considered one of the major illnesses of the 21st century, like obesity.

Still, this condition is one of the most common across the world. This is a sign of how dangerous and difficult to manage it can be.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers it a pandemic due to the very high number of people who suffer from it.

This international entity is so concerned that they created the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). The IDF has been fighting this illness since 1950.

Let’s learn a little more about this disease.

What is diabetes?

Woman applying an insulin shot in her stomach

Before getting into details, it’s a good idea to clarify what this disease is. Diabetes is a chronic and irreversible illness that affects your metabolism.

According to the WHO, it happens when your pancreas no longer produces enough insulin or when your body doesn’t use the insulin it does produce effectively.

The IDF tells us that insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces. Insulin acts as a key to allow glucose from the food we eat to pass through our blood to cells in order to produce energy.

Types of diabetes

There are three types of this disease:

  • Type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes

According to WHO, the cause of this illness is still unknown. It includes the insufficient or nonexistent production of insulin, making daily shots necessary.

This is where the name “insulin-dependent” comes from.

  • Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes

This is the most common type among known cases worldwide. This type usually relates to inactivity or being overweight.

It’s main characteristic is the body’s inefficient use of insulin.

  • Gestational diabetes

Pregnant woman with gestational diabetes

This type involves an increase of blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

In this case, blood glucose levels are much higher than normal, but less than the regular standard for diabetes. Thus, it forms its own type of diabetes.

What countries are most affected by this disease?

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases of the century.

This is due to the rising number of cases all over the world. However, some countries are more affected than others.

Here are some of the countries with the highest number of cases:

  • China: It’s one of the most populated countries of the world, and so its high numbers are understandable. There are about 92 million registered cases.
  • India: This is another one of the most populated countries, and there are approximately 63 million cases of this disease in India.
  • The United States: The third spot goes to this world power, with close to 24 million official cases of the disease.

Although these countries aren’t all poor in economic terms, their numbers are relative to their populations.

Therefore, when we talk about the countries with the highest rates, the list changes.

  • In this case, Micronesia comes in first, with a startling 37%. This percent includes the population between 20 and 79 years of age.

Technological advances

Microneedle patch for diabetes

The IDF has lead several studies with the goal of improving the quality of life of people with diabetes.

They’ve even made an insulin patch the size of a coin to replace injections, according to a study published in the National Academy of Science.

Principal investigator Zhen Gu, says that it’s a fast-acting patch for diabetes. It’s easy to use and uses nontoxic and bio-compatible materials.

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