Diabetes – A Global Epidemic

Earlier this week, we reported on the National rollout of the Diabetes Prevention Programme, having previously commented on the relentless rise of new diagnoses of the disease with over 200,000 new cases reported annually. The NHS are already trying to address this problem through the Prevention Programme but there are now calls for the food industry to act responsibly to reduce the fat and sugar content of foods to reduce the risks.

Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning in a major report that worldwide, this serious condition is affecting nearly 1 in 11 adults, with cases nearly quadrupling to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980 and the increase being predominantly down to type 2. It is now the eighth biggest killer in the world.

Significant risks include:

  • Heart attack
  • 20 times higher risk of leg amputation
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Blindness
  • Complications in pregnancy

The report also notes that low and middle income countries are bearing the largest burden and in the Middle East, in particular, cases have soared from 6 million to 43 million and in countries like Qatar and Kuwait more than 20% of the population have the condition with poor diet and inactivity being blamed for the increases.

The WHO report states:

The starting point for living well with diabetes is an early diagnosis – the longer a person lives with

undiagnosed and untreated diabetes, the worse their health outcomes are likely to be. Easy access to basic diagnostics, such as blood glucose testing, should therefore be available in primary health-care settings. Established systems for referral and back-referral are needed, as patients will need periodic specialist assessment or treatment for complications. In lower income countries it can be difficult to treat the condition with poor access to appropriate drugs and monitoring equipment for blood sugar levels.’

It concludes:

There are no simple solutions for addressing diabetes but coordinated, multicomponent intervention can make a significant difference. Everyone can play a role in reducing the impact of all forms of diabetes. Governments, health-care providers, people with diabetes, civil society, food producers and manufacturers and suppliers of medicines and technology are all stakeholders. Collectively, they can make a significant contribution to halt the rise in diabetes and improve the lives of those living with the disease.’

If you or a family member suffer from Diabetes and have concerns about medical treatment and management contact a member of our Medical Negligence team who have specialist experience of dealing with cases involving Diabetes on 0800 316 8892.